A question was raised at a recent meeting of Enniscorthy Municipal District as to the implications for a green field area linking two estates near an area where a planning application for a housing development has been lodged with Wexford County Council.
Cllr John O’Rourke raised the matter with officials at the meeting and said: “I see the development company that had made an application previously to build houses in the Carley’s Bridge area and who were unsuccessful with their appeal to An Bord Pleannala, have made another application on April 8.”
"I am just wondering about the section of greenland area between the two housing estates of Urrin Valley and Millbrook is on the table again as part and parcel of their application for a cycle way or walkway through the housing estate into the new development,” said Cllr O’Rourke.
“At the time, in relation to that green area, I don’t ever remember a Section 183 coming before us in relation to tendering for that piece of green land to the development company,” he added.
Cllr O’Rourke then emphasised that he isn’t against housing developments and instead highlighted the fact there is a need for houses in Enniscorthy.
"I am against, nor do I think any other member is against the housing scheme being developed but the fact that greenland area, which is being used constantly by people who are living in that area, is now being bargained again without a 183, and has a cycle lane and walking lane between the two housing estates into the new development,” he said.
“I am just wondering is there any clawback on that situation,” he added.
In response the Director of Services, Carolyne Godkin, said it wouldn’t be unusual for the local authority to give letters of consent to allow planning permissions to proceed.
However, she said the actual disposal of land to anybody is the reserve function that is required to go before the members.
"If we were to dispose the land to a particular entity and for whatever reason the project didn’t go ahead well then we wouldn’t have the land either so that would be the next step,” said Ms Godkin.
"The planning process will go ahead and they would then engage in a Section 183 process, local committee through the council as a form of approval," she added.
"That would be the normal way of doing it."
Cllr O’Rourke then asked, with regard to the letter that would have been given to the company to indicate the local authority would possibly look at engaging with it, who signed off on it.
Ms Godkin said she wasn’t familiar with the specfics around the Section 183 process in the case in question but she commented: “It would be unusual for a letter to be issued from the planning section. That could go from the director, it could also go from the senior planner, so I'm not necessarily sure there’s a firm policy on that but it would be a permission to enter into a planning process.”
"That would be normal that we would give them out on a fairly regular basis where land that we own is involved,” said Ms Godkin.
"If it is given out then that just lets it go for planning,” she added. “It’s not committing the land in that act as well; that is a fully reserved function that would come back before the members then for a decision."
Ms Godkin then commented: “It may not ever come to you if whatever the planning process is involved doesn’t come to fruition.”
"I don’t want to talk about the specifics because I'm not familiar with the case in particular but I would say it's just a process,” she said.
"I am not objecting to any housing developments in Enniscorthy,” said Cllr O’Rourke.
"We are in a situation where need to build houses but if consultation had been done between the company and the two housing estates we wouldn't be in this situation and they wouldn’t be in this situation either,” he added.
"I am objecting to the green land area being sectioned as a 183 if it has to go as part and parcel of the deal."