Dáil Éireann - Volume 584 - 27 April, 2004

Written Answers. - Rural Housing.

  142. Mr. S. Ryan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the extent of consultations between his Department and the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government prior to the publication of the Government’s guidelines for planning authorities on sustainable rural housing; his views on whether the proposals jeopardise good development practice in rural areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11841/04]

  173. Mr. Coveney asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if the relaxation of planning guidelines, particularly for one-off rural houses, as a result of new guidelines recently published, will apply only in CLÁR designated areas; the result he anticipates in other non-CLÁR rural areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11917/04]

  Éamon Ó Cuív: I propose to take Questions Nos. 142 and 173 together.

I consulted my colleague, the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government in the preparation of the national spatial strategy prior to its publication, in particular in regard to rural planning. I said in my statement of 4 March last, welcoming the publication of the draft guidelines, that they represent a practical and thorough approach to the issue of rural housing.

The document, Consultation Draft of Guidelines for Planning Authorities on Sustainable Rural Housing, reflects exactly what I have been saying for the past number of years in regard to this issue. They provide a detailed framework which sets out how Government policy on rural housing, as set out in the national [284] spatial strategy is to be taken forward by local authorities.

The guidelines are based on a presumption that people who have roots in or links to rural areas and are part of and contribute to the rural community will get planning permission for houses, provided they meet the normal requirements in regard to matters such as road safety and proper disposal of waste water.

I have frequently been accused of wanting a free-for-all on the rural housing issue but I repeat that what is needed is rural housing within the confines of good planning practice. The consultation draft reflects my position on this issue and it clearly outlines Government policy on the matter.

The guidelines are intended to apply to all rural areas, not just in CLÁR areas.

Question No. 143 answered with Question No. 105.