The Department of Housing has been asked by the Office of the Planning Regulator (OPR) to step in to reverse the decision of Cork County Council that will allow a retail outlet centre to be built in East Cork.
On January 27, the council adopted a variation to the County Development Plan 2014 that would allow a retail centre, similar to Kildare Village to be built between Carrigtwohill and Midleton.
Councillors voted 42 for and four against with one abstention by the County Mayor Christopher O’Sullivan to vary the Development Plan to provide strategic planning policy support for the provision of a retail outlet centre in the N25 Corridor area, (Carrigtwohill-Midleton area).
Both the Chief Executive Tim Lucey and Director of Planning Micheal Lynch strongly recommended the changes.
On Friday, February 21, the OPR wrote to Minister Damien English asking him to intervene in the decision for a variety of reasons.
According to the OPR, the variation to the County Development Plan 2014 should not be allowed due to the premature nature of the changes, which were made prior to the development of a joint city and county plan that is being devised by the Local Authorities together.
The OPR stated the decision of the council results in making a Development Plan (as varied) “that fails to set out an overall strategy for the proper planning and sustainable development of the area concerned, which is a breach of the requirements of the Planning and Development Act 2000.” As a result, the OPR said there would be ‘merit’ in Minister English issuing direction under Section 31 of the Act.