A motion voted through by Councillors represents a real win for those who want to live in one-off rural housing, according to Fine Gael Councillor Shirley O’Hara. Cllr. Cllr. O’Hara successfully passed a motion to amend the Council’s strict rural planning regulations to make it easier for people from rural areas like Rathcoole, Newcastle, Saggart and Brittas to obtain planning permission to build a home on a family plot.
Cllr. O’Hara thanked her Fine Gael colleagues, Sinn Féin and Independent Councillors who supported her motion but said she was shocked that party’s like Fianna Fáil were abandoning rural residents by objecting to her proposal. Cllr O’Hara explained, “I got support for my motion that makes it easier for planning approvals for people in rural South Dublin who are from the area and are looking to build on a family plot and stay in the locality. There is a similar rule in place in Kildare County Council to allow this, so there is precedence for this.
“I think it’s a real win for people from Brittas and the hinterlands Rathcoole, Newcastle and Saggart who want to build their own home in the place they grew up in. “Nationally, Fine Gael in Government has committed to revitalising rural communities and has acknowledged the role that one-off housing plays in doing that, and I look forward to working with Minister Peter Burke to ensure that the new Rural Housing Planning Guidelines provide constituency throughout rural Ireland.
Cllr. O’Hara said that one-off housing plays a small but important role in accommodating our growing population in rural areas in South Dublin. She stated that shockingly only 5 one-off rural houses were granted planning permission by South Dublin County Council since the current Development Plan came into force in 2016. Cllr. O’Hara said the drafting of the new County Development Plan represents a real opportunity to change this. She said she felt rural Dublin was totally let down by politicians from Fianna Fáil, Labour and the Green Party who voted against her proposal. Despite their opposition, Cllr. O’Hara garnered enough to support to loosen restrictions for people who want to build a home on a rural family plot or on a rural site near where they grew up.
“Around 85% of all one-off housing planning permissions are granted each year nationally but that is far from the case in South Dublin County Council. In the last 5 years only 5 people got planning permission for a one-off rural home. That simply doesn’t add up and I really hope that changing the rules of application will help people who want to apply or re-apply for planning,” said Cllr. O’Hara. “One off housing is a small aspect of the current national housing supply but there will always be demand for this development with a design and planning framework in place which is sustainable, well managed and well regulated.
“We’re not fully over the line on this yet as this change needs to go to public consultation and will likely have to be re-voted on this summer. But, once the Development Plan is finalised, if we can make sure this change is in it, I think we’ll deliver real hope for young couples and families who want to raise their family where they themselves were reared,” concluded Cllr. Shirley O’Hara.