1 - Economic Development and Planning Policy

Minutes of Strategic Policy Committee 1 (Economic Development& Planning Policy ) of Sligo County Council held at 3.00pm on Wednesday 13th December, 2006 in the Training Room, Riverside, Sligo


  • Councillor T McLoughlin,
  • Councillor P Barry,
  • Councillor S. Kilgannon,
  • Councillor S. McManus,
  • P Tuohy, Aclare Development Council.


  • P Forkan, Director of Services
  • S Ryan, Heritage Officer
  • F Moylan, Senior Executive Planner
  • J McNamara, Administrative Officer
  • D Breen, A/Director of Services
  • M Davidescu, Executive Planner
  • D Finnegan, Clerical Officer 


  • N O’Driscoll, Ballisodare Community Council
  • M Keenan, Keenan Construction Ltd.,
  • G Healy, Chamber of Commerce,
  • Cllr. A Colleary
  • F. Meagher, Senior Executive Planner


  • Cathaoirleach, Cllr Tony McLoughlin, presided.


Proposed:  Cllr P. Barry
Seconded: Cllr T. McLoughlin

And agreed:

“that the minutes of Strategic Policy Committee No.1 meeting held on 25th September, 2006 be confirmed.”


D. Breen stated that work had taken place on the paving in Aclare, following this matter being raised at the previous meeting.  He also stated that the ESB have been contacted regarding the lighting system under the Village Enhancement Scheme and he would advise the committee of the position in due course.   P. Tuohy confirmed that the area highlighted had been cleaned and thanked D. Breen for the update. 


A copy of the brief and scope of this project, the Lower Quay Street Local Area Plan, was previously circulated to members.  F. Moylan gave an outline of the plan and indicated that the subject area was one of a number of key sites identified within the Sligo & Environs Development  Plan which could benefit from the preparation of Framework Plans.  He stated that the area in question is a highly visible area encountered by visitors entering the town centre.  F. Moylan mentioned that they would hope to have a public consultation and get a prospective on what the public’s vision is of the area.  This will hopefully occur sometime after Christmas.

Cllr. S. McManus pointed out that this topic was a matter for the Borough Council and should not be discussed at an SPC meeting of the County Council.  The Cathaoirleach indicated that it was information to be shared at this meeting and that it was appropriate that this SPC would have this presentation.  Cllr. S. Kilgannon recommended the inclusion of a multistory car park. 


M. Davidescu indicated that Laura Courtney of the National Building Agency (NBA) had prepared this plan and she was giving the presentation on Laura’s behalf.  She outlined the plan which gave an outlook of the different plans for specific areas.  The plan is divided into nine development cells and each cell has its own recommendation for the type of development as follows:

  • Cell 1 – 50% residential 3-5 story buildings with one landmark
  • Cell 2 – 75% residential 3 story buildings with no landmark
  • Cell 3 – Educational area with some residential buildings, crèche/community centre
  • Cell 4 and 6 – Residential buildings
  • Cell 5 – Residential buildings of low density 2 story buildings, playing fields
  • Cell 7 – Business, industrial & technology (BIT) park

The capacity of the land would encompass a population of between 1,559 – 3,335 and a total of 139 hectares.

Cllr. T. McLoughlin thanked M. Davidescu for the presentation.  Cllr. S. Kilgannon mentioned that this plan had been presented at the Sligo/Drumcliffe area meeting and it is an exciting and aspirational plan.  He commented that Sligo did not need a six-story building and he felt it was not necessary to have a BIT park located in this plan and suggested it could be located in Sligo IT.    In relation to the BIT park, F. Moylan mentioned that Sligo IT do not have adequate land space to cater for further development and there is already provision within the Sligo & Environs Dev Plan for BITP zoned land located within the north fringe of the town.

Cllr. S. McManus thanked M. Davidescu for the presentation and questioned what the next step in the process is.  He also queried if social housing would be included in this plan and if public, private, partnership approach would be used.  F. Moylan informed him that the next step would involve meeting with the NBA and discussing issues raised by councillors at area meetings and SPC meetings. The plan would then go before the full Council for approval and subsequently would be put on public display.  They would then invite submissions from the public and amendments would be carried out accordingly. F. Moylan stated that all residentially zoned land was subject to Part V, therefore, allowing for social and affordable housing to be incorporated into the plan.

Cllr. Barry asked if there would be a need for compulsory purchase orders (CPOs).  F. Moylan replied that the advantage of a master plan allowed developers to focus on what can and cannot be achieved and this might, therefore, eliminate the requirement for CPOs.  Some of the land in this area is owned privately, some by the County Council and also by the NRA. 

D. Breen stated that the County Council had earmarked land for educational purposes and this is where the school would be located.  Cllr. T. McLoughlin thanked M. Davidescu and
F. Moylan for their address and indicated that it was important for councillors to be aware of the plan.


D. Breen gave a brief update on Sligo Docklands.  He informed the members that Ms. Paula Gallagher, Senior Executive Officer had been appointed to deal with the Harbour.  He indicated that the Council would be liaising with the Dept. of Transport and the Dept. of Communication, Marine & Natural Resources.  He mentioned that €1.5million was received from the Dept. of Transport, but due to procurement rules they were unable to use the money.  However, the money will be available for use next year. He advised the meeting that work had commenced on the preparation of a Masterplan for the Harbour.  He indicated that an advisory group would be set up early in the year.  Cllr. P. Barry welcomed this.  Cllr. McLoughlin thanked D. Breen for the update.


M. Davidescu informed the members that some progress has been made.  She indicated that some of the plan has been drafted but that they were still in consultation with other sections of the Council and, unfortunately, not all sections have responded back as yet.  She stated that this plan is not intended to be just a land use plan but also should incorporate social and economic elements.  She is liaising with the Council’s Economic Development Officer in Tubbercurry whose work should feed into the LAP.

M. Davidescu also highlighted the problem with staff shortages and she hopes this will be resolved in the New Year.  A Proposed Draft Plan may be submitted to the Members possibly in February or March 2007, subject to availability of resources. Cllr. T. McLoughlin hoped that the issue regarding staff would re rectified.


Cllr. S. MacManus raised the question of the preparation of area plans.  A discussion took place in relation to this matter and it was agreed that the officials should examine alternative ways of bringing about ordered development in towns and villages by means other than the preparation of local area plans. 

D. Breen pointed out that Part V of the Planning Act related only to areas that were zoned for housing.  He suggested that the provisions of Part V ought to apply to all housing developments regardless of whether or not the land was zoned and he confirmed that this change would require an amendment to the Planning Act.  He recommended that this SPC write to the Dept. of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government asking that there would be an amendment to the Planning Act to rectify this anomaly. 

It was proposed by Cllr. Kilgannon and seconded by Cllr. Barry and agreed that this SPC write to the Dept. of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government asking that there be an amendment to the Planning Act specifying that any group of houses of five or greater in number have the provision of Part V of the Planning Act applied to regardless of whether or not the land in question has been zoned for housing.

Cllr. Barry queried if there was a clause in relation to an area which did not have a requirement for social housing.  F. Moylan replied that a Development Plan could identify areas where the requirement to comply with Part V could be waived. For example, in locations where there already existed a high concentration of social housing.

Cllr. McManus asked if this committee could bring forward something in relation to zoning.  P. Forkan suggested that this could be discussed at further meetings of this SPC and this was agreed.

It was proposed by Cllr. Mc. Manus and seconded by Cllr. McLoughlin and agreed that there would be a review of the Development Plan system with a view to coming up with new methodology. 

Cllr. T. McLoughlin on behalf of the SPC wished P. Forkan and his family well in his retirement.  He mentioned that Mr. Forkan had been very supportive and helpful to this SPC over the past number of years and thanked him for his contribution to this committee.  All members agreed this.  P. Forkan then thanked all the staff for their work on the SPC and pointed out the good teamwork between councillors and staff.

Cllr. McLoughlin wished all present a very Happy Christmas.

The meeting then concluded.

No date for the next meeting was fixed.

Meeting Date 13/12/2006