Talk of planning ‘bans’ is not helpful Council chief executive tells Hurley

May 1st, 2024 10:10 AM

By Southern Star Team

Cllr Hurley was told there was no 'ban'. (Photo: Brian Lougheed)

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UISCE ÉIREANN will use ‘workarounds’ to address issues with water infrastructure which have stalled planning in West Cork.

That’s according to Cork County Council chief executive Valerie O’Sullivan, who was speaking in reply to questions from councillors at a meeting of Cork County Council.

The issue was raised in a motion proposed by Dunmanway independent councillor Declan Hurley which read: ‘I call on Cork County Council to lift the current ban on new planning permissions and new wastewater connections to allow development in rural county towns and villages where existing treatment plants have available treatment capacity.’

Cllr Hurley said land was zoned and developers were ready to build but they were being hindered by a ban on planning applications and on wastewater connections.

‘I would ask if we could write to the Department to see if the minister could make a special fund available to Uisce Éireann to deal with these issues in areas like Castletownbere and Dunmanway and Macroom.

‘Dunmanway has a treatment plant, we are being told there is capacity within the plant to take new connections but because it’s in a Special Area of Conservation (SAC), the freshwater pearl mussel and all that goes with it, there are additional standards there and complications in getting this infrastructure up and running.’

But Council chief executive Valerie O’Sullivan said that there is no ‘ban’ on new planning permissions and such ‘rhetoric is not helpful’.

‘It might be difficult to grant planning in certain circumstances but grant is what we will try to do,’ she said.

‘Two weeks ago we had a very lengthy meeting with Uisce Éireann and I can assure members that certainly the Dunmanway situation, as well as Crossbarry and Castletownbere, were all raised by us at that

‘They have undertaken to put what they call “workarounds” in place, particularly in the Dunmanway situation. We will keep the pressure on and they have the message loud and clear.’

Council director of services in planning and development Padraig Barrett said that several towns across the county including Castletownbere, Clonakilty, Dunmanway, Kinsale, and Macroom had been identified as having a ‘strategic infrastructure deficit’ regarding drinking water, wastewater or both.

He said that the county development plan had to take into account particular water sensitive catchments including the Bandon River, Glenbeg Lough, and Glanmore Bog.

Independent councillor Danny Collins said the freshwater pearl mussel and water levels in Glenbeg Lough have stopped planning permissions in the Beara Peninsula.

‘There is a quick solution, we had two engineers down there and they said the solution is pumps. Uisce Éireann have to see that they are stopping infrastructure in the likes of the Beara Peninsula, houses aren’t being built. There are plans for a number houses in Castletownbere and also in Kealkil and they can’t be built because of this,’ he said.

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