Council to publish draft County Development Plan

Roscommon County Council’s Draft County Development Plan (CDP) for 2021 to 2027 will go forward for public consultation later this month following a special meeting of the local authority yesterday (Wednesday) morning.

Council Chief Executive Eugene Cummins said the draft was “a very important document that sets out a course for the county for the next twelve months”.

He added that he was looking forward to good debate throughout the process of delivering the adopted plan in early 2022.

The draft CDP was presented by Pio Byrnes and Mary Grier of the council’s planning section and barring any amendments or Ministerial direction, the adopted plan is expected to come into effect by February of next year.

The six-year development strategy falls under the National Planning Framework and will see a focus on a new, “more strategic and innovative” approach to zoning. Land will be zoned under ‘land use’ headings such as Town Core, Outer Core, Strategic Industrial and Greenbelt, with the current number of land uses in towns decreasing from fifteen to seven.

The document also projects a population growth of around 6,500 people in Roscommon in the next six years and housing demand was discussed at the meeting, with some members expressing concerns over plans to develop 50 units per square hectare in the Monksland area.

The development of properties close to village settlements or ‘rural clustering’ is also part of the new plan and was described as “an attractive alternative to one-off housing” by the planning section.

The local authority did however reassure members that stand-alone residences would be facilitated in rural areas and that permission would still be granted to demolish and replace substandard dwellings.

Wednesday’s presentation was widely welcomed by a full attendance of members online. A number of councillors did however raise concerns around issues such as housing, infrastructure, and local investment, while also calling for further emphasis on sustainable agriculture.

  Cathaoirleach Cllr. Laurence Fallon said further discussions would take place at a meeting in November. He added that Roscommon was very much an agricultural county and he believes the draft plan reflects that but called for further input from farmers and those employed in the agricultural sector.

Director of Services Martin Lydon expressed disappointment at the lack of engagement during the initial public consultation process and also called on members to look at the bigger picture regarding the plan.

“This is a strategic plan, not a detailed plan. This is about looking after the county for future years and not to be used to claim grants. It’s much bigger than that,” he said.

The local authority has called on the public to engage with the public consultation process and to make submissions when the draft becomes available later this month.