Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Questions (198)

Eoin Ó Broin

Question:

198. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage his position in respect of the opposition of the planning regulator to an out-of-town shopping centre in County Cork as set out in a letter to Cork County Council in December 2020; and if the letter will be published on the website of his Department. [2299/21]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

In evaluating the making or varying of county and city development plans by local authorities, the Office of the Planning Regulator (the Office) must have regard to provisions set out in the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended (the Act), including, but not limited to, the National Planning Framework, Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies (RSESs), the principles of proper planning and sustainable development, relevant guidelines issued under Section 28 of the Act, relevant government policies and directives, and other provisions as set out in the Act. The statutory process for the review of development plans and variations by the Office is also set out in the Act.

In February 2019 the Office made a statutory recommendation to the Minister in relation to Variation No. 2 of the Cork County Development Plan 2014, and in March 2020, Cork County Council received the Minister’s notice of intent to issue a Direction, which included a draft Direction, pursuant to Section 31 of the Act. This notice of intent was published on Cork County Council’s website and submissions were invited from the public and from elected members. In accordance with the requirements of the Act, the Chief Executive of Cork County Council subsequently prepared a report on the submissions received and this report was submitted to the Office for consideration in June 2020.

The Office, having considered the report of the Chief Executive and the submissions made directly by the elected members of the Council to the Office, issued a notice to the Minister in July 2020, and recommended that the Minister issue the Direction, as attached to the Notice of Intent in draft format in March 2020.

Following a comprehensive review by my Department of all the issues and receipt of relevant advices, it is considered that the Office set out a valid and lawful rationale for its recommendation to the Minister to exercise his function under section 31 of the Act and issue a Direction to Cork County Council, directing the planning authority to delete Variation No. 2 of the Cork County Development Plan 2014.

Accordingly, on 23 December 2020, I issued a Direction pursuant to Section 31 of the Act in relation to Variation Number 2 of the Cork County Development Plan 2014. The reasons for the Direction are set out in the Statement of Reasons section of the Direction, which was published on 24 December 2020 on my Department’s website and is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/75aef-ministerial-direction-to-cork-county-council-variation-no-2-of-the-cork-county-development-plan-2014/