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Appeals board refuses planning contribution reduction

A CLARE developer has failed in his bid to get a €124,984 planning contribution for a Kilkishen housing development, levied by Clare County Council, reduced by over €40,000.
Jim Woods Building Contractor Limited submitted in his appeal to An Bord Pleanála that there was double charging of development contributions levied for the construction of 16 houses at Cluain na Laoi, as levies had already been paid in full under the terms of a previous planning permission.
Mr Wood’s claim was supported by the board’s planning inspector, Louise Kiernan, who recommended the developer should pay a planning contribution of €124,984 minus the value of €38,400 paid in 2004, index linked in respect of public infrastructure and facilities benefiting the development.
However, the board overruled the inspector’s recommendation and decided the Development  Contribution Scheme for the area had been properly applied concerning the relevant planning condition.
According to the inspector’s report, the 16 houses granted earlier this year formed part of a previous planning permission for the construction of 54 houses granted on this site in 2001.
The report noted Mr Woods paid €129,600 or €2,400 per dwelling to Clare County Council on March 9, 2004.
In an appeal lodged on behalf of Mr Woods by HRA Planning Chartered Town Planning Consultants, the consultants argued development contributions have already been paid concerning this development and there was no material justification to apply development contributions for a shortfall in public open space.
The consultants stated the attachment of extra development contributions was unreasonable and unwarranted given that infrastructure required to facilitate this development.
Commenting on a Department of Environment circular stating that double charging was inconsistent, the consultants pointed out there was no provisions in the contribution scheme that would suggest that development contributions can be repeatedly applied concerning the same development.
On foot of the payment of contributions levied under the 2001 permission, they noted all service and infrastructure works required to facilitate that development were undertake and put in place. They submitted the further payment of development contributions in respect of the provision of services that are currently in place and which have already been levied on and paid by the developer is inequitable.
In its response to the board, the council stated the terms of its current development contribution scheme have been properly applied and confirmed to the applicant that contributions paid in respect of the 2001 permission would be deducted from those owing under the latest approval to reflect the fact that previous payments had been made.
The council argued that double charging of contributions had not arisen in this case. As the subject development doesn’t provide for an adequate level of public open space, the council stated a contribution of the shortfall was required as specified by the terms of the current development contribution scheme.

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