A variation to Meath’s County Development Plan has been passed this week, which will see local land at risk of flooding de-zoned from residential status, avoiding homes being built on inappropriate lands in the future.
This variation was passed by the Dunshaughlin Area councillors by a narrow margin after 12 hours of deliberation on the subject. It was then agreed upon at the full council meeting this week.
Cllr Niamh McGowan, who voted for de-zoning the excess residential land, welcomed the outcome but expressed her concern that some colleagues were in favour of retaining the residential zoning on the lands.
“It is hard to believe that as recently as last week that I should have to argue against the zoning for residential development of lands at risk of flooding in the Dunshaughlin Electoral Area,” said Cllr McGowan, expressing her frustration.
The Dunshaughlin area councillors held a series of three special meetings over twelve hours in the days leading up to the full Council’s consideration of the proposed variation to the County Development Plan. These meetings were private and not open to the press or members of the public.
Submissions had been made by landowners of large tracts of lands in the Kilcock environs and Dunboyne requesting that residential zoning be maintained despite the lands having been identified in a flood risk assessment report as being at risk of flooding.
Despite Councillors being subject to guidelines which clearly identify that lands at risk of flooding should be rezoned to less vulnerable land use, explained Cllr McGown, three of the area’s seven Councillors spent hours arguing against the Manager’s recommendation to remove the residential zoning from the lands.
The proposals by certain Councillors to retain residential zoning were narrowly defeated by votes of 4:3 in respect of a range of lands.
At the meeting of the full Council Cllr McGowan insisted that the minutes of the three special meetings should be amended to reflect the voting records of individual councillors and that these minutes should be circulated to all Councillors.
“While I am obviously happy that the final recommendation of the area committee to full Council was to avoid any residential zoning on lands at risk of flooding, I was unhappy that the record did not identify the fact that a number of Councillors voted to maintain such inappropriate zoning” said Cllr McGowan, confirming that the minutes would now be amended to record how each Councillor voted.