1 - Economic Development and Planning Policy

Minutes of the Strategic Policy Committee 1 (Economic Development and Planning Policy) of Sligo County Council held at Riverside, Sligo on Wednesday the 20th of February 2008


  • Councillor Tony McLoughlin
  • Councillor Sean McManus
  • Councillor Seamus Kilgannon
  • Councillor Deirdre Healy McGowan
  • Councillor Aidan Colleary
  • Councillor Jude Devins
  • Mr Gerard Healy, Chamber of Commerce


  • Ms Paula R Gallagher, Senior Executive Officer
  • Ms Siobhan Ryan, Heritage Officer
  • Ms Bernadette Devine
  • Ms Rita McNulty, Director of Services
  • Mr Declan Breen, Director of Services
  • Mr Joe Murphy, Senior Executive Officer
  • Ms Dolores McDonagh, A/Administrative Officer
  • Ms Janet McNamara, Administrative Officer


  • Councillor Patsy Barry
  • Ms Niamh O’Driscoll, Ballisodare Community Council
  • Mr Michael Keenan, Keenan Construction Ltd
  • Ms Phil Tuohy, Aclare Development Association


  • Councillor Tony McLoughlin

A vote of sympathy was extended by the chairperson, on behalf of the SPC1 Committee to Mr John O’Dwyer on the death of his mother.

Proposed: Councillor Tony McLoughlin
Seconded: Councillor Sean McManus


Proposed: Councillor Deirdre Healy McGowan
Seconded: Councillor Seamus Kilgannon

And agreed that: - “the minutes of the Strategic Policy Committee No 1 meeting held on the 25th of October 2007 be confirmed”.


It was proposed that the Schedule of Strategic Policy Committee 1 meetings to be held in 2008, as circulated to the members, be agreed and adopted.

Proposed: Councillor Sean McManus
Seconded: Councillor Seamus Kilgannon


Councillor Jude Devins raised the issue of ‘Out of Town Retail’ and reported the views of the Executive with regard to same.  He stated that his preference was for retail to be developed in town. 

Councillor Devins welcomed the fact that the content of the mini plan will be streamlined from that contained within the existing mini plans.  This would reduce the pressure put on Councillors for re-zoning.  He indicated that a large percentage of the land zoned was not developed and queried if this land could be re-zoned.

Mr Breen suggested that in cases where the Council believed that developers were reluctant to develop their land, the land in question could be rezoned to reflect this.  This would send out the signal to developers that development must take place when land is zoned.

Councillor Kilgannon stressed the importance of getting the correct formula for the preparation of mini plans.  He indicated that the demand was not in Carney for developments at present.  He expressed disappointment that Tesco were not allowed to relocate on the outskirts of town as housewives need easy access to supermarkets and parking fees were also an issue.  Mr Breen indicated that Tesco had given a commitment for the continued operation of the city centre store and it is believed that they will link up with Callside Developments Ltd. In terms of developing the town centre.

Councillor McLoughlin also emphasised the importance of the immediate development of the Centre Block and stated that development should take place from within.  He indicated that people would look elsewhere for facilities and services otherwise.

The Members welcomed the fact that the mini plans will be prepared as part of the review of the County Development Plan.

Councillor McManus stated that Councillors were inundated with requests from developers to have land zoned.  He indicated that it would be necessary to examine each town individually to establish the various issues which needed to be addressed and to incorporate provisions to ensure compliance with Part V requirements, where necessary.

Mr Healy queried the practicality of engaging resources into re-zoning of these small settlements and stated that the procedure was market driven.

Councillor Devins stated that Rosses Point needed commercial infrastructure and support.

Councillor Seamus Kilgannon stated that very little development had taken place since mini plans were adopted.  He referred to the decline in population in the town and stated that an adequate supply of zoned land should be available near town where more affordable housing would be available.

Councillor McLoughlin conveyed his beset wishes to Mihaela Davidescu for a speedy recovery.


Mr Joe Murphy discussed the Council’s policy with regard to the “Taking in Charge of Housing Estates”.  He stated that 25 estates were being considered for taking in charge.

Draft Supplementary Development Contribution Scheme

Mr Murphy also discussed in detail the “Draft Supplementary Development Contribution Scheme for the Western Distributor Road” which was circulated to the Members prior to the meeting.

Mr Breen stated that the cost of the Road was approximately €48 million and that the contributions would be applicable to developments on lands outlined on map attached to scheme.  Mr Murphy indicated that the levy was for a period of 20 years.

Councillor Kilgannon queried the situation regarding the payment of contributions by people who were not going to do anything with their lands.  He indicated that this could result in a shortfall.

Mr Breen informed the Members that it wasn’t anticipated that this would happen.  He also stated that the IDA were prepared to pay their contributions upfront. 

The Members unanimously agreed that the “Draft Supplementary Development Contributions Scheme for the Western Distributor Road” be put on display.

Development Contributions

Mr Murphy also discussed the report on the position with regard to outstanding development contributions at the 31st of December 2007.  He stated that the arrears had reduced by €200,000 since the end of 2007.

Enforcement of Planning Control

Mr Murphy also gave the Members an updated report on Enforcement of Planning control.

Councillor Healy McGowan complimented the Enforcement Section on the good work being done.  Councillor McLoughlin conveyed his best wishes to Mr Fineen O’Driscoll on his transfer.


Ms Gallagher informed the meeting that tenders had come in significantly higher that anticipated for the floating pontoon at the timber Jetty.

Ms Gallagher discussed correspondence received from the Department regarding the cost of the Foreshore Lease.  She indicated that the Department were looking for €4,800 per annum rental or a once off payment of €69,600 with a nominal annual sum payable.

Ms Gallagher informed the Members that the rental proposal was excessive in view of the size of the proposed pontoon (60m * 4m), the potential use and income potential.  She advised the members that it was proposed to revert back to the Department requesting them to reconsider the fee proposed in light of the proposed use.

Councillor Healy McGowan emphasised the importance of the floating pontoon from a tourist perspective and it was proposed by the Committee that a letter should be issued from the Director to the Department requesting them to review the rental proposal which the Committee considered to be excessive.

Proposed: Councillor Tony McLoughlin
Seconded: Councillor Deirdre Healy McGowan

Ms Gallagher informed the meeting that the cost of Capital Dredging could be in the region of €5 - €6 million.  Councillor McManus queried if a submission was made for funding for dredging costs.

Ms Gallagher informed the Members that there was funding in the region of €30 million for Capital Dredging.  However, she stated that the Council has been advised that the funding available was for Port Authorities and not Harbour Authorities.  She advised that Sligo County Council is investigating the possibility of obtaining funding under the Northern Periphery Programme.  Councillor Colleary stated that he believes funding should be forthcoming for dredging.  It was agreed by the Members that an appeal should be forwarded to the Minister requesting that the application be treated as exceptional.

In response to a query by Councillor  McManus, Ms Gallagher advised that it will be necessary to have either a new bunded area or deposit dredging spoil at sea.  A potential new bunded area has been identified and a submission has been made by the Harbour Advisory Group for inclusion of this newly proposed bunded area in the Sligo & Environs Development Plan.


Ms McDonagh informed the meeting that the “National Play Policy, Ready Steady Play” had  directed that Local Authorities develop play policies and that City/County Development Boards develop County/City Play Plans.  In response to this the two Authorities, the County Development Board and other external groups had come together to establish a Local Play Advisory Forum with a dual role of developing a play policy for the Local Authorities and a County Play Plan.  She informed the meeting this Play Policy will address the needs of younger children up to the age of 12 years.  Older children up to the age of 18 will be catered for under the provisions of Teen Space, the National Policy for young people. 

Ms McNulty gave the members details of the objectives and proposed actions to be included in the Draft Policy.  (She referred to the report which had issued to members regarding the Development in Play Policy).  She advised the meeting that a consultant had been appointed and that it was proposed to hold meetings with Local Authority Staff, the Play Advisory Forum and to hold public consultation meetings.  She stated that consultation had already been held with the young children including children with disabilities and these findings would feed into the Play Policy.  She indicated that the Final Draft, when available will be brought to the SPC for their consideration.

Councillor. McManus welcomed the development of the Policy and expressed appreciation at the willingness of the Council to get involved.

He stated that the needs of the children would be identified from demands from the community.

Councillor. McManus queried if the Policy would provide for skate boarding facilities.  Ms McNulty indicated that this did not feature in this Policy as this would be the preference for recreational activities for over 12’s.

Ms McNulty stated that one of the provisions of the Teen Space Policy would include facilities for Hang out Areas for the over 12’s.

Councillor. Devins expressed dissatisfaction that no funding was available in 2007 for the provision of equipment and queried if any funding would be available in 2008.  Ms McNulty indicated that it was unclear whether the Department of the Environment “Play Ground Equipment Grant Scheme” would be available in 2008. 

Councillor. Devins informed the members that the Committee in Roses Point had obtained some private funding but that contributions would be required in the future for the provision of the play area.

He requested that the Play and Recreational Office and the Planner would liaise with the Committee to identify the most suitable site from those suggested by the Committee.

The Director, Mr Breen, indicated that he would arrange same.  Councillor. McLoughlin also expressed concern that no funding was received in 2007 in respect of the provisions of playground equipment.

Councillor. Colleary expressed concern regarding the lack of facilities in rural areas and the travel costs and implication for children to avail of existing facilities elsewhere.


Further to discussions at the previous meeting, proposals were put to the meeting for a possible visit to Bilbao to examine the regeneration of the city and the harbour area.  Following discussion, it was

proposed by Councillor Seamus Kilgannon
seconded by Councillor Sean McManus

and agreed

that arrangements be put in place with the Local Authorities in Bilbao to facilitate a visit by members of SPC1 and appropriate staff in the near future.


Meeting Date 20/02/2008