MINISTER FOR the Environment John Gormley has warned councillors in Donegal that he will "use his powers of direction" if they approve the relaxation of certain planning restrictions in favour of builders.
Councillors have proposed to include a "small local builder policy" to allow developers to build more houses in the countryside. The proposal is included in the draft variation to the Co Donegal development plan.
A submission from the Department of the Environment was included in a copy of the county manager's report on the proposed draft variation.
In his report, county manager Michael McLoone said the Department of the Environment was concerned about the "fairness and probity" of a policy that would involve transferring development rights to named individuals.
"The policy discriminates in favour of a particular group and is not consistent with planning policy and sustainable development," Mr McLoone said. "It would furthermore set a clear-cut undesirable precedent for sporadic, unco-ordinated development in the countryside."
Separately, Annagry-based Labour activist Séamus Rodgers has called on the two main political parties to explain the rationale behind a proposal to increase the county's holiday home quota.
Sounds like good plans to promote urban sprawl! I was up Muckisk on a great hike, and the sprawl around the surrounding countryside does mar the scenery.