Cllr Flynn critical of housing targets: ‘This is bad for Killorglin and Mid Kerry’s economy’

Cllr John Francis Flynn (FF) said housing targets under the new County Development Plan are too restrictive and counterproductive to economic development in Killorglin and Mid Kerry.

Under the plan, Kerry County Council (KCC) is prioritizing one-off rural housing for the children and relatives of farmers.

KCC has also categorized Mid Kerry as a region of ‘strong urban influence’, which Cllr Flynn claims will restrict future potential and opportunities for people who want to live in the locality.

Cllr Flynn believes the plan unfairly categorises people when the role of councilors and KCC should be to treat everyone equally and bring them together under the County Development Plan 2022-2028.

“As far as I can see, the only people who can get planning now is a son, daughter, or favored nephew or niece of a farmer. The ordinary Joe Soap with no farming background hasn’t a hope of getting planning in Mid Kerry,” he said.

Prior to the new draft proposals, Killorglin was identified as an area of ​​’strong urban influence’. However, the entirety of Mid Kerry is now specified under these terms in the plan.

Cllr Flynn fears this may hinder the necessary housing development required to facilitate the growing population in Mid Kerry.

KCC’s ‘core settlement strategy’ envisages a target of 251 houses for Killorglin over the next five years. Cllr Flynn feels this won’t be enough to meet demand.

He said 20.6 hectares of zoned land has been allocated to Killorglin for a target of 251 houses. But Listowel, with zoned land of approximately 10.8 hectares, has a projected housing target of 415.

“This doesn’t make any sense. The council says these are only targets. But if any planning goes before An Bord Pleanála exceeding the target, it will be shot down as An Bord Pleanála will view them as housing limits, not targets. That is the problem,” he said.

Cllr Flynn lambasted the new rules saying the only option for people who cannot build in the surrounding countryside is to source housing within Killorglin, which he now feels is going to be difficult because of the set housing targets outlined.

“There is around 2,000 people in Mid Kerry currently on the social housing list, and 350 of them are in Killorglin. That’s just for social housing,” he said.

“Local companies are also looking for workers so they can expand their businesses. But if they can’t find houses for them, how are they going to expand? Did anyone from the council care to ask the local businesses what their expansion plans were before setting these targets,” he said.

Cllr Flynn now hopes the Office of the Planning Regulator (OPR) will intervene and ‘throw the plan back’ at KCC for amendment.

“That’s the only hope now. Something will have to be done as it just doesn’t add up. The council are only tying themselves up doing it this way.”

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