Tuesday 26 June 2007

Rezone plans put on hold by officials

MOVES by politicians to rezone large tracts of land for housing near Adare are still on hold following the intervention of Limerick County Council planners.

The elected members of the council who have the power to rezone land favour opening up more sites near the village for housing.

However, the council officials ordered a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) fearing over-development could environmentally damage the picture postcard heritage village.

One prized half-acre site was sold last year near the village for €1.3 million.

Auctioneers say an acre located within 10 minutes walk of the village would be worth up to €1m — twice the going rate in adjoining villages.

Councillor Richard Butler who along with other local councils favours rezoning said: “If you starve a community of development land, you will increase the price of it. The council are creating an expensive market which it should not be. Locals are being blown out of the market.

“Even 12 of the local hurling team have to live outside Adare. Young couples form Adare have to move to places such as Newcastle West as they can’t get sites and due to the lack of housing land houses are too expensive when they do come on the market. We are supporting the rezoning of three separate parcels of land.”

He said the council planners were using the SEA as “a stalling mechanism”.

The elected members have an agreement if representatives from one electoral area back a rezoning proposal, all the other councillors support the proposal.

Among those eager to cash in on local land values is the GAA club.

The club has applied to the council to have its five acre playing ground re-zoned for housing.

The plan is to sell it off and use the money to build a bigger facility further out.

Due to increased membership the club says it has a space crisis in its present location.

Limerick County Council planners do not want to see the population of Adare — at 1,300 — rise beyond 3,000 so that the village does not lose its traditional character.

At present the council owns 20 aces of undeveloped land in Adare and does not want any new rezoning to go beyond 75 acres.

The elected members will not be able to press ahead with their proposals until the Strategic Environmental Assessment is finalised and submitted to County Hall for consideration.

Irish Examiner

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