Tuesday, 21 February 2012
Department of Environment, Community and Local Government
I refer to the reply to Question No. 140 of 26 January, 2012.
The rezoning of the lands referred to was included in the proposed amendments to the Draft Galway City Development Plan 2011-2017 which was adopted on 25 January 2011 and which came into effect on 21 February 2011. In my role as a statutory consultee on the draft City Development Plan, my Department raised a number of concerns with the Council at the amendment stage of this plan.
These concerns included that the proposed amendment did not reflect the strategic approach to commercial/retail areas previously identified in the Core Strategy in the Draft City Plan and would not provide for the proper and sustainable planning of the area.
The responsibility for zoning lands for specific purposes is a matter for planning authorities through their development plans and local area plans. Under the Planning Acts, the making, reviewing and varying of a development plan or local area plan is a reserved function of the elected members of the planning authority for the area.
However, I intend to finalise the Retail Planning Guidelines for planning authorities by April 2012. My objective will be to strengthen national planning policy requirements for all planning authorities in relation to retail planning and the requirements in relation driving city and town centres as focal points for retailing.