KILDARE Co Council (KCC) has responded to stinging criticism of the county’s rural planning system, saying that in 2018, 100% of one-off rural housing applications refused were upheld by An Bord Pleanála.
Ceann comhairle Seán Ó Feargháil had described the system as ‘out of control’, adding that the situation as regards securing permission for a once-off house has become intolerable over the past year or so. He noted that he has raised concerns with senior Council officials and government ministers about the treatment of rural applicants and wrote to KCC chief executive Peter Carey last November expressing the view that the council was breaching the terms of the county development plan and national planning policy.
“The long-established rural population of County Kildare must not be forced, against their will, to compete for housing accommodation in our urban areas,” he stated.
In a statement issued to the Kildare Nationalist , KCC noted that the population of rural Kildare has increased “significantly” over the past decade and that the rate of population growth in rural areas (+5.9%) has outstripped the rate in urban areas (+5.7%) for the five-year period between 2011 and 2016.
“In fact, there are over 20,000 one-off dwellings in Kildare representing [an] almost 100% increase in the last 20 years (1998 showed 10,650 dwellings),” it said.
The council also stated that in assessing planning permission applications for individual homes in the open countryside, there will always be a number of criteria specific to the particular application. These can include compliance with rural housing policy, groundwater protection, traffic safety, protection of hedgerows, planning history, exacerbation of ribbon development, the impact on third parties or neighbouring properties and other factors.
“In adjudicating on planning applications, Kildare Co Council applies policies set out at national, regional and local level as appropriate and where an applicant or third party feels that this is not the case, appeals can be made to An Bord Pleanála to reassess the application,” KCC said. “Figures show that in 2018, An Bord Pleanála confirmed 85% of all decisions of Kildare Co Council and in the case of one-off rural housing, 100% of applications refused were upheld by the Bord.