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Planning regulator urges minister to quash Cork plan variation

Words: Roger Milne
Cork / iStock-1051833300

Planning regulator Niall Cussen has flexed his muscles for the first time by recommending that housing and urban development minister Damien English should quash a recent variation to the Cork County Development Plan, designed to facilitate a €100 million ‘tourist outlet village’.

UK property firm Rioja Estates unveiled proposals last November for a tourist outlet village selling heavily discounted leading brands near Carrigtwohill, outside the east Cork village of Killacoyne.

In January councillors, supported by the local authority’s chief executive Tim Lucey, voted to alter the development plan to allow for a major retail outlet to be developed near Carrigtwohill.

The planning regulator said the variation was premature as the Office of the Planning Regulator had requested that the alteration should not be made before an updated joint retail strategy for the Cork Metropolitan Area.

The regulator also argued that the variation resulted in a development plan that failed to “set out an overall strategy for the proper planning and sustainable development  in the area concerned”. This was a breach of the requirements of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended).

The minister has two weeks to decide whether to accept or reject the regulator’s recommendation.

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