OPR Regulator explains Cork County development plan intervention

Cork county councillors are considering taking a legal advice against an intervention by the Office of the Planning Regulator in respect of five matters in the new county development plan, concerning Bantry, Fermoy and Carrigtwohill, it emerged at Monday’s meeting of the local authority.
OPR Regulator explains Cork County development plan intervention

The Office of the Planning Regulator (OPR) performs independent assessments of local authority plans to ensure they apply national and regional policies. Pic; Larry Cummins

The body tasked with overseeing compliance by County Councils with planning regulations nationwide has responded to The Echo concerning its recent intervention in Cork’s newly adopted County Development Plan for 2022 to 2028.

The Office of the Planning Regulator (OPR) performs independent assessments of local authority plans to ensure they apply national and regional policies.

Cork county councillors are considering taking legal advice  against an intervention by the Office of the Planning Regulator in respect of five matters in the new county development plan, concerning Bantry, Fermoy and Carrigtwohill, it emerged at Monday’s meeting of the local authority.

A spokesperson for OPR said: “Where the OPR considers that a development plan is not consistent with statutory requirements, does not comply with the objectives of the National Planning Framework (NPF) or Regional Spatial Economic Strategy (RSES), or with Ministerial guidelines, we can make recommendations to local authorities to address the matter.

“Our notice letter to the Minister on the Cork County Development Plan 2022-28, includes our full recommendations regarding development in Bantry, Fermoy and Carrigtowhill including the following; In Carrigtwohill, the Development Plan includes zoning objectives for reduced residential densities within 1km of a train station. However, both of the sites are located within easy walking distance of the Carrigtwohill rail station. This contravenes national and regional policy which supports achieving higher densities to maximise the number of residents who can benefit from investment in public infrastructure and support sustainable development.

"In Bantry, the Development Plan zones residential land in a remote and peripheral location at a distance from the town-centre and which leapfrog extensive undeveloped Greenfield lands which is zoned as agricultural. This is contrary to national and regional policy to build houses closest to the facilities and amenities of the town before more peripheral locations.

"In Fermoy, the Development Plan includes objectives for industrial zoning in the vicinity of the M8 Junction 15 (Fermoy South) which had been zoned as Greenbelt in the draft plan. This could generate significant additional traffic with potential to impact on the national road. Transport Infrastructure Ireland also recommended against this zoning.” These amendments were all adopted by the elected members against the advice of the local authority’s chief executive, added the spokesperson.

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