Kerry County Council ‘rezoning too much land for housing’

Regulator advises council to reduce amount of land planned for rezoning in Ballybunion

The regulator criticised Kerry County Council’s proposal to alter the status of existing residential zoned lands near the centre of Ballybunion. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

The regulator criticised Kerry County Council’s proposal to alter the status of existing residential zoned lands near the centre of Ballybunion. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

 

The new planning regulator has claimed Kerry County Council is seeking to rezone too much land around the seaside resort of Ballybunion for new housing.

The Office of the Planning Regulator (OPR) has advised the council to reduce the total extent of the lands it has proposed to rezone for residential use under the draft Listowel Municipal Area Plan 2019-2025.

The regulator said the draft plan needed to be altered to more closely match the core strategy and settlement strategy of the Kerry County Development Plan 2015-2021.

The OPR criticised the council’s proposal to alter the status of existing residential zoned lands near the centre of Ballybunion, while also proposing to rezone new lands for housing which were “significantly more distant” from the town.

It pointed out that a sequential approach to the zoning of lands was required under planning guidelines issued in 2007.

The regulator said the introduction of a new parcel of land for housing through an extension of the town’s southern boundary appeared to be inconsistent with the requirement for a sequential approach to zoning and would go against the objective of achieving compact growth of Ballybunion.

The regulator said the draft plan was inconsistent with the Kerry County Development Plan over the council’s proposal to rezone almost 13 hectares in Ballybunion to accommodate 39 housing units.

“Such a level of provision could provide for a very low density of development – in the region of four units per hectare – which would be markedly inconsistent with the approach adopted in other settlements,” the OPR said.

It also warned that changes needed to be made to the draft plan to limit the potential of areas zoned for new housing in the villages of Lixnaw and Moyvane to be developed while the area’s waste water treatment plant was suffering from capacity constraints.

The regulator expressed concern that no detailed flood risk maps had been prepared by the council which made it difficult to assess the appropriateness of some proposed zonings in the villages of Ballylongford and Abbeydorney.

The OPR also criticised what it claimed were “deficiencies” in a flood risk assessment report prepared by the council and the “lack of any form of justification or detailed commentary for the rezoning of lands within flood zones”.

The OPR said the draft plan did not explain how the development of these lands could be managed “without causing unacceptable adverse effects elsewhere”.

Listowel municipal area

Separately the regulator also recommended changes to a proposed variation by Kerry County Council of the existing plan for the Listowel municipal area.

While the OPR acknowledged that the council proposals would ensure any future development in Listowel was more consolidated and compact, it said the extent of land zoned for residential development was still 15.25 hectares above that contained in the Kerry County Development Plan.

The regulator also called for changes to the proposed rezoning of sites for housing in Castleisland and Islandganniv North outside Listowel because they were in an area at risk of flooding.

Under legislation the council’s chief executive is obliged to provide an explanation to the OPR if it does not accept the regulator’s recommendations.

On foot of that the OPR can makes recommendations to the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Eoghan Murphy, to direct the local authority to make changes to its development plan.