Wednesday 16 April 2008

Councillors defy planners on house

SLIGO COUNTY councillors have for the first time in 16 years passed a controversial Section 140 motion despite a warning from planners that they were setting "an undesirable precedent". Section 140s were previously known as Section 4s.

Fianna Fáil councillor Jude Devins, who proposed the motion, said that neither he nor his party believed that Section 140s were good for local government as they created dangerous precedents and disparate thinking between councillors and the executive. But he argued that the mechanism was being used in this case as a "last avenue".

Mr Devins said that the family of the applicant, local business man John Mullaney, had owned the site for close to 50 years. "I am a strong and ardent believer in family members being entitled to build on their family land and I make no apology for this belief."

Senior planner Frank Moylan said the site at Ballyweelin, Rosses Point, had been the subject of five previous planning applications, three of which were withdrawn while two had been refused. The site was in a designated "visually vulnerable area" and the building would "interfere with views of the coastline and Knocknarea".

Mr Devins said the entire coastline of Co Sligo had been designated as visually vulnerable and each application had to be assessed on its merits.

He and the Fianna Fáil party were determined that it would never again take four years to resolve such a planning application.

While 19 councillors supported the Section 140 motion it was opposed by two Independent councillors, Declan Bree and Margaret Gormley, and by Sinn Féin's Seán MacManus. There were three abstentions.

Labour's Jimmy McGarry, who seconded the motion, said it was for a family home on a single site and was not a development designed for economic gain.

The Irish Times

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