Protect East Meath asks Planning Regulator to investigate excess Drogheda zoning in Meath Development Plan

Protect East Meath this week wrote to the Office of the Planning Regulator asking it to investigate a proposal by Meath County Council to release enough zoned land to build up to 8,000 houses in South Drogheda as part of the development plan review.

Under the previous development plan the Council had identified excess zoning in South Drogheda and imposed an “order of priority” where only specific sites could be developed based on criteria such as access to public transport in order to ensure an orderly and coherent development of the area. The remainder of the land, although remaining zoned residential could not be developed within the plan lifetime.

The Meath Development Plan is currently under review following the adopted of the Regional Spatial Strategy which envisages the population of Drogheda increasing by 25% over the next ten years from 40,000 to 50,000. To manage this increase in population the Regional Plan requires an Urban Area Plan to be developed jointly between Meath and Louth County Councils as a priority in order to ensure compact development and balance out development between the North and South of the town.

The draft plan envisages a population increase of 3,300 in the Southern Environs of Drogheda (the part of Drogheda in Meath) and the construction of 1,600 new housing units (including existing and new planning permissions).

However the draft plan allows six years for the Urban Area Plan to be developed which on any measure is not “prioritisation” In the mean time the draft completely removes the Phase II zoning which was preventing less suitable sites from being developed. If the draft is passed enough zoned land for 8,000 houses or a population increase of 20,000 will be available in principle.

Protect East Meath has written to the Office of the Planning Regulator expressing concerns that this approach will undermine the Regional Strategy and National Development plan by allowing uncoordinated development to take place before the Area Plan is adopted.

You can download the letter here or read it below: