THE ‘locals only’ planning policy in the county is the “biggest impediment” to the success of the Clare Rural Development
That’s according to Councillor PJ Kelly, who has asked that the County Development Plan be reviewed to remove
aspects that obstruct rural development.
“We are doomed to disaster, unless we intervene,” he told this month’s meeting of Clare County Council.
According to the councillor, he is aware of a number of incidences, where people who wanted to set up businesses in
the county did not do so, as they were unable to get planning permission for homes.
He said that something needs to be done “to allow development, without being asked to produce a
He continued, “Different parts of the county are being severelydisadvantaged, while others are advantaged.” He said that
the County Development Plan needs to be gone through “line by line”.
“We have got to change a core part of the County Development Plan; what’s written on rural development has little or no relevance to modern Clare.”
He also emphasised the importance of holiday homes to local economies.
Brian McCarthy, acting director of services, Economic Development Directorate, responded that the Clare County Development Plan 2017-2023, adopted and in force since January 2017, has a “core objective to seek to
achieve a County Clare with diverse and strong rural communities and economy”.
He continued, “The development plan includes, for the first time, a specific chapter on rural development and proactively
seeks to work toward the creation of strong and vibrant rural communities and the betterment of our rural areas.
The recently completed Clare Rural Development Strategy aims to be a catalyst for rural growth and development across County Clare. In order to achieve this, it sets out a series of innovative approaches
to rural and community
He outlined that the rural strategy focuses on targeting specific geographical areas for maintaining and growing populations; providing special supports to achieve population and nresources to attract investment; develop social enterprise centres and increase the quality of the physical, built, social and cultural environment of rural areas.
“The Rural Development Strategy will actively support the implementation of the Clare County Development Plan 2017-
“Both policy documents share the same core values and, in this regard, the Clare Rural Development Strategy and the
Clare County Development Plan are complementary and are closely aligned with each other,” he concluded.
Councillor Gerry Flynn seconded Councillor Kelly’s motion, stating that, from the acting director’s response, “the impediments Councillor Kelly is talking about, it looks like they are not there but we know they are”.
He said there is a “conflict” between both the rural development strategy and development plan.
Council CEO Pat Dowling commented that the council has “set out our stall” in relation to rural development. He added,
however, that there is “no panacea to some of the problems that have evolved in rural Ireland over the decades.”
He said that the County Development Plan and Rural Development Strategy must complement and support each other.
He pointed out that there is an opportunity to review the County Development Plan in the second year.