Plan change to open up East Galway and West Connemara for housing

Outside the shaded area, planning restrictions for rural housing will be eased following last week's County Council mid-term review 0f the Development Plan
Two major chunks of Co. Galway - one in West Connemara, and the other east of a une from Tuam to Loughrea - will have planning permission restrictions greatly reduced, following last weeks meeting of the County Council. The decision was made at a marathon meeting of Galway County Council when councillors conducted a midterm review of the County Development Plan at County Hall last week.

The move is designed to redress the population decline in East Galway - and in West Connemara, in a line west of Cashla and Oughterard.

This week, PD councillor Ciaran Cannon, Chairman of the Planning Strategies Policy Committee for Co. Galway, told the Farming Tribune that the review of the plan passed would address the issue of the disparity of development in Galway.

"I believe that we now have a plan in place that addresses the very real disparity between the substantial development taking place around Galway city and the stagnation in areas of East and West Galway," said Cllr. Cannon.

It bas been claimed that this disparity has Iead to massive depopulation in parts of rural Galway with schools and local businesses finding it difficuit to survive while people rush to live in areas close to Galway clty.

The policy now adopted by Galway Co. Council seeks to slow down or reverse this trend by relaxing planning restrictions in locations outside the Galway Transportation Planning Study (GTPS) area.

This area extends to roughly 30km from Galway city and is the area that has experienced severe development pressure within the last number of years.

"We have now relaxed planning restrictions for oneoff houses in an area to be found generally east of a line drawn between Loughrea and Tuam.

"I am very hopeful that many people will take advantage of these changes and will move into our quieter areas over the coming years. From now on you will not need to substantiate a housing need or be a local in order to build in these rural areas. If you are granted planning permission there will be no enurement (no sale) clause applied to the grant of permission," said Cllr. Cannon.

Farmers in these areas will now find it far easier to sell sites and people who want to move into these areas will have many more options open to them. The requirements to comply with environmental and road safety standards and to avoid ribbon development will still apply.

"Meanwhile members of farm families within the GTPS area will have the right to huild on the family farm irrespective of whether they work on the farm or not. Members of farm families who had originally moved away to other locations will also be allowed to return to live on the family farm."

Councillors and planners also agreed to put in place measures to encourage rural enterprises that support and compliment the rural economy. Enterprises such as artisan food production, husinesses serving unique rural needs and small craft businesses will be supported and encouraged.

Frank Farragher An Curadh Chonnachtach 4/8/2006

Councillor on changes to planning guidelines

This week, Galway County Councillor Sean Kyne has outlined some of the variations that were passed to the County Development plan recently by Galway County Councillors.

He said that one such change which was discussed was possible changes to the Irish language clause within scheme houses in Gaeltacht areas, including Moycullen.

After much discussion between Connemara Councillors, it was decided that no clause would apply within areas where the 2002 Census showed Irish was spoken by less than 20% of people. This effectively referred to areas outside Connemara. Moycullen had a spoken Irish level of 22% in the 2002 Census, he said This would mean that an Irish enurement clause would apply within Mycullen housing schemes.

Cllr Sean Kyne has stated that the wishes of the Community in Moycullen was to retain Gaeltacht status and that turnout was much improved in last year's Údarás elections, which showed the importance that locals had regarding the parish Gaeltacht status.

Cllr Kyne stated that he had mixed views on the whole idea of these clauses but that a fuller discussion about the role of Irish clauses would take place in advance of 2009 when the new County Development Plan was adopted.

Cllr Kyne added that at last week's meeting changes were also made to the settlement centres with the circles being lifted within centres such as Roscahill. This may allow adjoining lands close to the old settlement boundaries to be considered for planning, subject to good planning and design and the connection to the village and its facilities. Cllr Kyne added that Roscahill wad been considered for an area action plan and that Tullykyne was also designated as a settlement centre by Councillers, again without a distinct boundary.

An Curadh Chonnachtach 4/8/2006