File photo: Construction plans
A gap of several weeks between the end of the current County Development Plan and the adoption of a new one will not lead to a ‘planning furlough’ or ‘Wild West’ situation, city councillors have been assured.
The concern was raised at a recent meeting of Kilkenny City municipal district, when a presentation was made to councillors on the progress of the new plan, due to be adopted in the new year.
Senior Planner Denis Malone explained the coming plan will be the 2021 to 2027 City and County Development Plan. He said a draft is almost ready to distribute to councillors. He expects the new plan to be adopted in the second quarter of 2021.
However, Cllr David Fitzgerald pointed out the current County Development Plan will lapse on January 1. “It’s like Cinderella,” he said, at the stroke of midnight it’s gone. “If we don’t adopt the new plan on January 1 are we without a plan and if planning applications are made are we in a planning limbo and could the Wild West of planning applications appear in this furlough period?” the councillor asked.
Mr Malone reassured councillors that it was his understanding that there is a provision in legislation to extend the existing plan. He said he will have to read the legislation to be absolutely certain, but insisted “we are not going to be in a Wild West situation.”
The Senior Planner said people could not ignore 40 or 50 years of planning documents. He said it was his opinion they will not be in ‘limbo.’
Cllr Fitzgerald asked that the legal position be clarified as it was important councillors understand it.
Mr Malone’s presentation to councillors set out where the council is in the process of drawing up the plan, and how they will proceed in the coming months. The City and County Development plan will be one document, for the first time, but it will be divided into two volumes, for the city and county.
This was welcomed by councillors, including Cllr Fitzgerald who said the city “has unique issues.”
The process to create the new plan began in April 2018. Workshops will be held for councillors before the draft plan goes on public display.