Friday 27 July 2007

Council official speaks out on European investigation Locals only' planning being examined by EU

So-called locals only' planning policies are currently being examined by the EU following an accusation of discrimination by a County Wicklow resident.

However, Wicklow County Council's planning director, Des O'Brien, is confident that the EU Commission will not find against them.

He told a Wicklow area meeting of the County Council that the Commission was looking to see if the locals only rule adopted by Wicklow, among others, in relation to planning applications for one off houses in rural areas was an impediment to EU citizens having the same rights as others.

The commission had not come to a decision yet, he said. They had to refer back to the Department of the Environment who then had to refer questions to the council. This had not happened yet, Mr O'Brien stated.

I can't see them finding against us,' he told the meeting. If it did happen it would mean that it would be very hard for local people to be able to afford to buy sites.'

Cllr Conal Kavanagh, who raised the issue, pointed out that if the EU found against the council it could result in no one being granted planning permission in rural areas.

It could go either way. It could mean that anyone who applied would get planning permission which would create huge competition for sites,' Mr O'Brien said prompting councillors to interject that they would never happen.

The planning director said that in the event of such a ruling the implications would depend on how councillors cast their county development plan. However, he said it was too far ahead to foresee at the moment.

Wicklow People

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