PLANNERS IN Clare have raised concerns over a flurry of rezonings voted through by councillors to the greater Ennis development plan.
At Clare County Council’s July meeting, councillors voted through a series of last-minute changes, rezoning almost 100 acres of land around Ennis for housing before 2014.
In the draft variation to the Ennis and Environs Development Plan, the 95 acres were part of 720 acres of land to be frozen for development until after 2014.
The proposed freezing of the lands followed the intervention by the Department of the Environment, which expressed concerns in relation to overzoning in the greater Ennis area.
Now, in a strategic environmental assessment report on the councillors’ late amendments, council planners have stated that the zoned lands recommended by councillors “represent a segregated and haphazard approach to sequential planning”.
The report, along with the material amendments, have now gone before the public.
The report states: “It is contrary to the aim of the core strategy which encourages sequential development from the centre out and this has the potential to cause significant environmental effects.”
The planners state the environmental effects include development in an ad hoc and unrestrictive manner without regard to the current available levels of infrastructure and utilities; to environmental and ecological designations, sensitivities and constraints and to the likely significant impacts on water resources.
The planners state the councillors’ late amendments “would result in a segregated and haphazard approach to sequential planning and result in significant increases in the pressures on existing infrastructure and overall significant adverse environmental effects.
“While the proposed modifications provide for a total amount of land in phase one which is within the core strategy requirements, the location and distribution of these lands are contrary to the aims of the core strategy which encourages sequential development from the centre out and this option has the potential to cause significant environmental effects including development in an ad-hoc and unrestrictive manner.”
The planners add that the inclusion of one site for housing before 2014 that adjoins Girroga Lake Special Area of Conservation on the northern outskirts of Ennis “is likely to result in significant negative effects on a Natura 2000 site and therefore should not be included”.
The public has until September 9th to make submissions.
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