Cllr Seamus Morris: asking the council to scrap the Part 8 process
The dispute over Tipperary County Council’s plans to build social houses in Cormack Drive looks set to rumble on with residents again raising issues surrounding an agreement they claim has been in place since 1984, and concerns that the public consultation process was not fully complied with.
The council is planning to build 12 social houses on green areas in the estate. This has been scaled back from 18 houses.
“The agreement was never not to build houses, but it was not to build any more social houses,” said residents’ association spokesperson Michael Ryan.
“There is documentary evidence, which we don’t have and the council should have but they say they can’t find, that states that back in 1984 it was agreed no more social houses would be built,” he said.
Mr Ryan said that that was why, when houses were built in 1991 in the estate they were built away from the green areas.
“The green areas have dished kerbs, and the agreement was private housing would go in on them,” he pointed out.
“Why move the houses in 1991 if the agreement did not exist?” he asked.
He also said that the agreement was backed by the then chair of Gortlandroe Residents’ Association.
Mr Ryan also said the Part 8 public consultation process was flawed nationally because it allowed planners decide which submissions would be shown to councillors and how they could be presented.
“Photographs were submitted with our observations showing the road blocked by traffic. The photos were a key part of our presentation but they were never shown to councillors,” he said.
“The council can take your submission and boil it down to what suits them,” he said.
Mr Ryan said that when this was raised with council officials, they were told the road was blocked “only twice a year”.
“But how often might you need the emergency services?” he asked.
Mr Ryan also maintained that the decision to proceed with the houses had been passed without reports from the fire service, an environmental report or a report from Irish Water.
The spokesperson also stated that the council had written to them notifying them of the plan to build the houses on September 1, 2020, when they should have received the notification in 2018.
“They said they were covered under legislation which says they have to notify residents 'as soon as appropriate',” he said.
Mr Ryan said that the council had written to the residents saying that no contractors will go on site until after they have met, and, because of this they had called off their protest at the entrance to the estate.
He said that the council had said that the development will proceed, but they would prefer if it went ahead with the residents’ co-operation.
The residents were due to meet last Thursday to discuss their response to the letter. They will then seek a meeting with the council executive.
Meanwhile, Cllr Seamus Morris has also challenged the Part 8 process, saying that following a meeting between the council, councillors and the residents, it had become apparent that the council had not adhered to the planning and development regulations 2001.
He said the council had failed to notify in writing those that had made submissions within six weeks of the manager's report dated December 2018.
“I and the other people who made submissions received notifications on September 1, 2020, way outside the six-week deadline,” he said.
“Because of this, I am asking the council to scrap the Part 8 process,” said Cllr Morris.
The Independent councillor said that he had also spoken to people in Portroe who had made submissions on a proposed housing development there and that they had not received written notification within the six-week deadline.
He has also asked the council to ascertain if the Nenagh sewerage plant was at capacity.
“If so, would it be inappropriate to grant planning for 12 further houses which will add to the already overloaded sewage plant,” he said.