Cllr. Donnelly welcomes new tougher planning laws

28th May 2009

Gormley’s changes will make it much more difficult for councillor’s to zone too much land for development

The Green Party’s candidate for the Carrigaline area of Cork County Council and for Passage West Town Council, Cllr. Dominick Donnelly, has said that changes to planning laws announced today by Environment Minister John Gormley will allow for better planning in County Cork.

Cllr. Donnelly said: “The Green Party has brought in major changes to the planning system for the first time since tribunals were established to investigate corruption ten years ago.  It will mean better services for our community based on sensible planning, and a clampdown on dodgy developments.”

 “I particularly welcome the aspect of the new legislation which requires a two-thirds majority on the county or city council in order to zone land for development, whether it be for the adoption of the county development plan, or for an amendment to the plan.  This will mean that no one party will be able to rezone land on their own, and should prevent the kind of corruption which Frank Dunlop used, and which has ended up with his imprisonment this week.”

Cllr. Donnelly continued:  “In many ways the downfall of the Celtic Tiger happened in local authorities up and down the country getting too greedy, and zoning too much land for development.  Much of this excess zoned land is what now makes up the toxic assets which have brought our banking system to the brink of collapse, and which have necessitated the setting up of NAMA.  Most of this zoned land will see no development during my lifetime.”

“It was councillors from all the main parties, Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Labour and Sinn Féin who voted through these zonings on councils up and down the country.  On many local authorities, it was only the Green Party representatives that opposed the widespread zoning of land for development.  A classic example of this was my Green Party colleague on Monaghan County Council, Vincent P. Martin, who was the only councillor to oppose the adoption of their county development plan, a plan which effectively allowed for the doubling of the population of the county.  Where are all these people going to come from?  They don’t exist, and this sort of overzoning is clearly ridiculous, but it has taken a Green Party Minister for the Environment to sort it out, as all the other main parties are up to their eyeballs in overzoning.  They seem to be too busy looking after their friends and backers to do a sensible job,” concluded Cllr. Donnnelly.

Cllr. Donnelly concluded:  “On a final note, these most welcome changes will promote a much more sustainable level of development, which will help support the economic renewal of the country, and will help break the cycle of boom and bust economics which all the main parties seem hell bent on continuing.”

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