Sunday 21 October 2007

Planning officials may be breaching the property rules

LOCAL authority planners in Kerry and other parts of the country may be breaching private property rights by insisting that a person must live where they build, it has been claimed.

Senator Paul Coghlan said it is his view that restrictions imposed by a number of planning authorities may be illegal and unconstitutional.

He successfully called for an adjournment debate on planning with the Minister for the Environment in the Seanad.

The Kerry Fine Gael senator remarked: “I put it to the Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Batt O’Keeffe, that restrictions on residence as a condition of planning are misplaced and have nothing to do with planning.

“I pointed out that one county council has inserted a planning condition that a person must reside in the domicile for up to 10 years before he or she is permitted to sell on the property.”

He said considering planning permissions only obtain for a period of five years, it is clear this situation is “ludicrous”.

“These are very unfair impositions and do not serve any legitimate planning aim,” Senator Coghlan complained.

“The minister confirmed that the European Commission has written to the Department of the Environment seeking a view on the compatibility of certain county development plans’ provisions with articles in the European Community Treaty on the freedom of establishment and the free movement of capital.

“I accept that the minister is precluded from publishing correspondence from the Commission by legal advice. However, I made the point that, in the context of European law, the European Convention on Human Rights recognises the right to private property,” Senator Coghlan remarked.

“I believe that local authorities by imposing ownership restrictions as outlined above are breaching those rights in a blatant manner,” he added.

Friends of the Irish Environment

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