A MALLOW businessman abandoned plans to build an extension to his premises when he learned that the development charges would cost more than the actual construction itself, Cork County Council heard this week.
Cllr Noel O'Connor told Monday's meeting that the businessman was told that he would be liable to pay the Council €24,000 in development charges as part of his planning permission for the extension, which would cost €22,000 to build.
"It doesn't make sense to charge the same development charges as during the boom time, it is an area we need to look at," he said.
Cllr O'Connor was commenting as it was revealed that the Council collected €5.8m in development charges in 2012. County Manager Martin Riordan said the figure was a significant drop on what was collected during the Celtic Tiger years, and the Council is struggling to fund water services as a result.
"We've experienced a rapid downward drop in development charges which peaked at about €45m," he revealed.
Mr Riordan said that the burden of development charges could be eased if the new body established to take on the running of Ireland's water system would also assume more of the associated costs.
"We have just approved advanced water works at Ballincollig at a cost of €3m and we will have to take up some of that costs. On average we take 30%. I have tried and failed to convince the department that instead of us borrowing and Irish Water taking it of us that they would just take on the project 100%, At the moment we are barely able to fund this from development contributions. That would solve a lot of problems we have, developers have and would make it easier for Irish Water," he said.