Supporting Local News

Owners won’t pay levy on sites that will never be given green light for housing

A local Councillor has expressed his fear that the amount of land zoned for residential purposes across the county is set to dramatically fall over the coming years – because planning permission is not being granted on these properties despite their status in the County Development Plan.

The problem is compounded because landowners whose properties have been zoned for housing, now have to cough up 3% of the market value in tax – even when planning permission is then refused.

And according to Cllr Michael Connolly, those landowners are not going to continue to pay this tax if there is ultimately no prospect of housing being allowed on these sites.

He was specifically referring to a situation in Ballygar where a developer applied for 20 houses on lands zoned for residential purposes.

Planners were not happy with the density of this housing development and reduced it back to 16 dwellings.

However, Irish Water then informed the developer that they did not have the capacity to even accommodate this reduced capacity.

Cllr Connolly informed a meeting of Galway County Council that this housing scheme is now in jeopardy unless a solution is found.

“The developer cannot reduce it any further as it would not be financially viable for him to proceed with the housing scheme,” he explained.

But the Moylough councillor explained that when the lands around Ballygar were zoned residential as part of last year’s County Development Plan, consent was given by Irish Water for their designation.

Planning permission had been granted to Gerry Tierney of Middleborough Developments Limited for a mixed housing development to include ten semi-detached and ten detached dwellings.

However, this planning permission expired after five years as the developer did not proceed with the scheme for a number of reasons.

But when he reapplied for the continuation of the planning permission, he was informed that it had to be reduced to 16. He agreed to go ahead with this but then Irish Water presented a major stumbling block.

Cllr Connolly said that discussions were currently taking place between the developer and planners from Galway County Council in the hope of finding some compromise.

The councillor explained that the sewage scheme in Ballygar is due to be upgraded over the coming years and by the time this happens, the houses would be ready to be occupied.

“But the way things are going and the obstacles facing developers, those who are in possession of lands zoned for residential purposes will not continue to pay this punishing tax to the government.

“Instead, they will be applying to have their lands dezoned which means that the amount of development properties available across the county will dramatically reduce,” he added.


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