Thursday 24 July 2008

Council rejects claims of rural planning ‘obstacles’

A CLAIM that “every obstacle” is being put in the way of people wishing to build houses in rural Kerry has been rejected by senior county council officials.

Fianna Fáil Councillor Dan Kiely said many people are finding it virtually impossible to get planning in the county and asked if the council has adopted a new policy to stop rural development.

Other councillors claimed many young couples are finding it increasingly difficult to get planning, even on family-owned land.

Kerry North Fine Gael TD Jimmy Deenihan said there was growing unrest because of the tough stance being taken by the council on percolation — the inadequate drainage of waste water from septic tanks.

But senior planning engineers said it is necessary to reduce pollution of rivers, lakes and groundwater caused by seepage from septic tanks and agricultural sources.

They said effluent contamination was a serious matter and, with new regulations from the EU and the EPA coming into force this year, the situation is being monitored more closely.

Fine Gael Councillor Johnny O’Connor, who claimed there was a refusal rate of over 50% in the Ring of Kerry area, said many people are angry about inconsistencies in planning decisions, noting that while some are turned down for planning, others a short distance away receive it.

More than 60% of planning applications are granted and county manager Tom Curran said there is no shortage of applications that end in favourable decisions.

He said there are no statistics to support claims that every obstacle is being put in the way of people seeking planning in rural areas.

Fianna Fáil Councillor John Brassil said his party will be putting forward a submission to the County Development Plan, asking applicants to select one councillor to act on their behalf if problems arise.

Irish Examiner

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