Labour cannot “deny families the opportunity to build homes on family owned land” and at the same time call for “large scale rezoning” of land in the city.
This is the view of Fine Gael FG councillor Brian Walsh who has accused Labour of “double standards” in its approach to the draft Galway City Development Plan.
At Monday’s city council meeting, which was held to deal with the development plan, councillors voted on a number of rezoning applications which will come into effect when the plan is finally adopted in 2011.
According to Cllr Walsh almost all of the variations that were approved were minor in nature and the majority related to the provision of houses for family members where a housing need had been identified.
“One variation was to facilitate the construction of one house on a 3/4 acre site to the west of the city,” said Cllr Walsh. “Under the current development plan the applicant was unable to secure planning permission as the plan dictates that a one acre site is required for each house.”
Some councillors tried to change this and reduce the requirement to 3/4 acre per house to allow the applicant build a family home but the application was rejected by Labour. However the Labour councillors brought forward the largest rezoning proposal of the night when they argued for the rezoning of a c16 acre site from industrial to commercial on the Tuam Road.
“In promoting this one rezoning application, Labour would have more than doubled the total area of land actually rezoned on the night,” said Cllr Walsh. “The Labour proposal was vigorously opposed by the planning department and was eventually withdrawn.”
Cllr Walsh said Labour “can’t have it both ways” and he accused the party of “denying families the opportunity to build homes on family owned land” while at the same time “introducing large scale rezoning requests which would have a far greater impact on the future development of the city”.