Letter to County Manager re Techrete and Howth Urban Centre Strategy

In November I sent the attached email to the County Manager in relation to his reliance on the Howth Urban Centre Strategy in dealing with the Techrete site application.  As I have pointed out the Strategy has no legal standing. Giiven that it has not been approved by the Councillors it has no democratic legitimacy either.  I have not yet received a reply.

I will continue to work to ensure that the policy framework for planning decisions is set by the elected and accountable Councillors as envisaged in the Planning and Development Act.
From: David Healy / Daithí Ó hÉalaithe
Date: Mon, Nov 24, 2008 at 5:24 PM
Subject: Howth Urban Centre Strategy

David, a chara,

In response to the draft Howth Urban Centre Strategy, I made the following comment

"I believe this strategy, appropriately amended, should be adopted as a Local Area Plan.  I think it is important to give it a legal status so that it will be of use in the planning system.  The preparation of the Strategy is mandated by the County Development Plan.  However, unless it is adopted as a Local Area Plan it will not be possible for the Council to rely on it in making planning and other decisions in the area.  There is a well established legal principle that the holders of statutory powers cannot delegate those powers other than as foreseen by statute.   Therefore the elected Council as the body responsible for adopting Development Plans and Local Area Plans which set the framework for planning consents, cannot delegate to the Manager or anyone else the power to draw up documents which set the framework for planning consents.  

"Not being able to rely on the Strategy for Development Control purposes would of course, negate the entire purpose of producing it.  Therefore I would recommend that the Plan, subject to amendments as suggested below and others which will arise from the current public consultation be put forward for adoption as a Local Area Plan."

We haven’t received any formal response to these or other comments submitted in response to the draft.

However, I note the following additional information request has been made in relation to F08A/1172:

" Heights The proposed development does not accord with the indicative heights as set out in the Howth Urban Centre Strategy, which provides for two storeys on the western edge, rising to a maximum of seven on the northern edge addressing Claremont Strand. The applicant is requested to submit revised plans, elevations, sections etc. that show a significant reduction in heights such that the proposed scheme complies with the Howth Urban Centre Strategy.

There is a legal problem here in that you are seeking to rely for planning control purposes on a document which has no legal status for that purpose.  It is far more than a technicality as the Urban Centre Strategy proposes to allow building heights significantly in excess of that acceptable to local councillors and the local community.

I would be grateful if you could indicate that you will put the draft strategy on display as a draft Local Area Plan.  Ideally it should go on display including the amendments which have already been suggested by myself, other local councillors and the local community, so that the discussion and final decisions can focus on the more detailed areas rather than the topics on which substantial consensus has already been achieved.


David Healy

Cllr David Healy
Green Party/Comhaontas Glas
Howth ward  / Ceantar Bhinn Éadair


54, Páirc Éabhóra,
Beann Éadair,
Co. Bh.Á.C.

087 6178852