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Thursday 2 October 2014

Ban on holiday homes to continue to protect 'Brand Kerry'

Sarah Stack

Published 02/09/2014 | 15:55

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A ban on building holiday homes in Kerry looks set to continue

A ban on building holiday homes in the most rural parts of Co Kerry looks set to continue.

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Kerry County Council confirmed planning permission will not be given for new one-off builds until at least 2021 if a development plan is approved.

The ban was first enforced in 2009, when an earlier six-year plan was passed.

“The restriction is on holiday homes in rural areas only, confining new build holiday homes to established villages and towns,” said a spokesman.

“This recognises the sensitivity and scenic value of the landscape in Kerry and the need to protect it, both for environmental reasons and also to protect the tourism industry.”

Council chiefs claim brand Kerry and the county’s unspoilt landscape and clean environment would be damaged if the council did not stop development in the countryside.

Paul Stack, director of planning, maintains the numbers of holiday homes in some areas far exceeded the local population.

There are almost 12,000 ‘empty houses’ in the county available for occupation, with about half of them in rural areas. There are also another 8,200 holiday homes in Kerry.

The risk of drinking water being polluted by septic tanks was also raised.

Mr Stack told councillors meeting to consider the new six-year county development plan that they would need to be careful in allowing any further one-off builds as 80pc of drinking water in rural areas came from groundwater and septic tanks are the main source of water contamination.

The strategy will become part of a new plan which will be the Kerry planning guidebook between 2015 and 2021.

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