Tuesday, 9 December 2008
Dáil Eireann Debate
363. Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the reason that a section of his Department will not meet with or discuss an important item with a group (details supplied) that is necessary for the group to complete its submission; if there is a mechanism available to the group to obtain such a meeting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45077/08]
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Deputy John Gormley): As Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, I am generally precluded under section 30 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 from exercising any power or control in relation to any individual matter with which a planning authority or An Bord Pleanála is or may be concerned. Therefore, it would not be appropriate for my Department to meet with any group to discuss an individual planning application.
Under the Planning Acts, as Minister, I may only intervene in the planning process in respect of heritage matters, i.e., I may comment on planning applications or appeals, or give expert advice to planning authorities or an Bord Pleanála, in relation to the protection of the built and natural heritage only.
On 6 December 2007, on architectural heritage grounds, my Department recommended to Athy Town Council that planning permission for the development in question should be refused, as the proposal was contrary to the proper planning and development of the area. My Department recommended that the developer liaise with the County Kildare Local Authority Conservation Officer in the preparation of any future proposals for this site.
Further comments from my Department were forwarded to Athy Town Council on 20 June 2008, on foot of further information received from the planning authority. My Department again recommended that permission not be granted for the development.
On 9 September 2008 my Department was contacted by a conservation architect acting for the developer, regarding my Department’s submission on the planning application. The Department suggested that a meeting be arranged between the conservation architect, the project architect and the County Kildare Local Authority Conservation Officer, with an official from my Department present, to discuss future proposals for the development of the site. I understand that no such meeting has since been requested by or on behalf of the developer concerned.
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