Friday, 7 December 2007

Coghlan probes new Designated Land Bill

KILLARNEY Fine Gael Senator Paul Coghlan has drawn attention to apparent contradictions in Government approval for a new Bill which will impose a 'use it or lose it' requirement on land which has been designated for housing.

"The Designated Land Bill would require planning authorities to enter into a binding agreement with, or impose requirements on, the owners of designated land in order to bring land into housing development," he told the Seanad.

"This Bill would also provide an amended compensation mechanism whereby designated land, if not developed in agreement with or in accordance with requirements imposed by the relevant planning authority, could be compulsorily acquired at below market value. And it would allow planning authorities to impose an annual development incentive levy on designated land as a possible alternative to compulsory acquisition.

"But in response to a recent Dail question, Environment Minister John Gormley indicated that the principal recommendation in the Ninth Progress Report of the All-Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution on private property, was for the implementation of the central proposal of the 1973 majority 'Kenny Report'.

"This proposal was for a 'designated area scheme' under which local authorities would be empowered to compulsorily acquire land for general development purposes at its existing use value plus 25 per cent, rather than at open market value. However, the Minister stated he has no proposals to proceed with such a scheme despite the contrary proposal outlined in the Programme for Government," Senator Coghlan said.

The Kerryman

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