In issuing a draft directive, the Minister states that he believes that Councillors have ignored, or have not taken sufficient account of submissions or observations made by the Minister to the planning authority. In my statement last month at the council meeting I made it clear why we were making the decision against the Chief Executives advice and dealt comprehensively with the idea that we were ignoring the Minister’s advice.
Below are the comments made by me at the special meeting of the Naas Municipal District in considering the Sallins local area plan.
COMMENTS ON SALLINS PLAN – CLLR. ROB POWER
Social Infrastructure: Alteration 19 has been agreed by the Chief as it acknowledges a deficit in infrastructure and I welcome that. What about the social infrastructure deficit that exists? Communities are left on the back-foot because Social Infrastructure Assessments (SIA) are only undertaken by a developer in conjunction with a development proposal. Why aren’t we proactively performing these as a council? If we were, I’m sure it would acknowledge the need for facilities in Sallins.
Loss of Strategic Land Bank: It was mentioned by planning officials that the land situated on the Clane road is a strategic land bank for Industrial use. I would use the same argument and say that it is a strategic land bank for Community use and its loss to other uses would be a blow to the community. Other land banks will not become available during the life time of this plan. Furthermore the entire community of Sallins is in agreement that this is the prime location for a community development.
Dealing with a town plan in isolation: I agree that it is preferable for Sallins to have a unique and distinct identity from Naas. However to ignore challenges and opportunities in the immediate periphery of the village doesn’t make sense. In particular the adequate supply of industry and commercial space near Sallins and the severe lack of housing in the greater area are just two such examples which should be considered in creating this plan.
Dealing with the Ministers Observations (4.10, 4.12 & 4.19)
The Minister may make a directive if he/she is of the opinion that a planning authority has ignored, or has not taken sufficient account of submissions or observations made by the Minister to the planning authority. I want to make it clear that the members have neither ignored nor taken insufficient account of the Ministers observations. In fact, I’d like to deal directly and specifically with those observations.
- The Minister suggests our proposals are at odds with (4.10): The section in the Planning guidelines reads “To support public confidence in the planning system and the development plan, decisions to zone land must be made in an open and transparent manner”
- Giving Confidence to the planning system:It can be considered nothing more than a nod to process if Kildare County Council or the Minister can invite public consultation from residents and community groups only to ignore it and apply conditions which are contrary to the wishes of the overwhelming majority of those people.
- Openness and Transparency:Participants in this process have been open at all times. The community organisations of Sallins GAA, Soccer club, Scouts, Community Council etc. have all voiced their support for Alteration 20 on the basis that lands will be made available for community use on this site.
- McHugh:As it was mentioned by An Taisce in their submission I want to deal with the concern that any actions taken in this plan are in conflict with the McHugh Case. The McHugh case dealt solely with the ability of the council to engage in the transfer of land to its control under Section 38 of the 1963 Act. The transfer of land to Kildare County Council is not under question in the making of the Sallins LAP. There is no proposal that I know of that suggests the transfer of any lands to KCC.
- Considering proper planning and sustainable development (4.12):It should be noted that no additional lands are being proposed for zoning here than was the case in 2009 when the housing market was collapsing. It is therefore difficult to understand criticism of zoning for housing and community facilities when such zones are in even higher demand today than they were 7 years ago. Given that these facilities have been zoned as such for the entire period of the current CDP it is also wrong to contend that it could contravene that plan.
Suggestion that zoning is not justified on presence of existing supporting infrastructure: To contend that there is a lack of infrastructure currently and ignore the impending Sallins By-pass is a manoeuvre to imply a barrier that does not exist. The fact is, in 3 years’ time, this will be the most accessible site in Sallins and would be perfect for a community facility.
Meets Objectives/Policies of CDP:
- Chapter 11.2 it is a Strategy of the CDP to: Ensure sufficient and appropriately zoned land is identified through the relevant local area plans and village plans to meet community infrastructure requirements over the period of this Plan.
- Chapter 11.14.1 Community Services & Facilities (4): To encourage the shared use of educational and community facilities for community and non-school purposes where possible so as to maximise the sustainable use of such infrastructure and promote community cohesion.
- Suggestion that the plan is contrary to sequential development (4.19): “Material Alteration No. 20 is contrary to the main strategy of the Local Area Plan to consolidate Sallins by developing the centrally located sites within the town.” There are three points made under the 2007 Planning Guidelines in respect of Sequential development. None of which are contrary to the zoning of McCarthy lands.
- Zoning should extend outwards: We have not proposed to de-zone lands which have already been approved and prioritised for development under this plan.
- Emphasis to be placed on infill lands: Infill lands have been prioritised with some already holding valid planning permission
- Areas to be zoned should be contiguous to existing zoned lands: The boundary of the proposed zoned lands is shared with both Hillview and Sallins Park estates.
In closing, I think it is important that we retain alteration 20 as proposed by the members for the future benefit of the Sallins community.”
March 9th – Special Meeting of Naas Municipal District