DONEGAL COUNTY COUNCIL has hit back at the report which ranked it the worst local authority in Ireland for planning, calling it “unbalanced, ambiguous and biased”
The local authority said that the An Taisce report generalised too much and did not acknowledge the difference in planning between urban and rural counties.
In a statement this morning, the Council said that by using a ‘general picture’ of how councils performed, the report gave a distorted representation of the planning process in Donegal which ignored its dominant rural character and its unique geographic location and demography.
The county council said it had not had the opportunity to give any input to the report which was published on Monday.
National heritage organisation An Taisce ranked 34 councils around the county on their planning systems with nine councils, including Donegal, given an F.
An Taisce said that Donegal was the worst county overall and highlighted that it had zoned enough land in 2010 to serve an additional population of 180,000 people. The current population of the entire county is 160,000.
Donegal County Council said it was “not surprising” that 85 per cent of applications for planning between 2000 and 2010 were in the rural areas of the county given its demographic profile.
To state that approximately 50 per cent of all residential planning permissions in Donegal were on unzoned lands clearly does not acknowledge that these were largely applications for single/rural family dwellings, considered under the context of distinct rural housing policies and are not on lands zoned in an urban context.
The Council said that An Taisce had not looked at regional and local considerations in Donegal which are significantly different to other counties.