The offices of An Bord Pleanála.

Mayo landowner loses appeal over council’s zoning of her property

A MAYO landowner has been unsuccessful in her appeal to An Bord Pleanála against the inclusion by Mayo County Council of her lands at Knockacroghery, Castlebar, on the residential zoned land tax map.

Carmel McDonald Ardill lodged the submission on the basis that the entirety of property has been in the McDonald family as a working farm since 1900 without any break and the family plan to continue to farm the land into the future.

She said a number of commercial and residential offers from developers for the lands, located off the old Westport Road, had been declined as it is her continuing plan to remain in farming.

The appellant expressed the opinion that if a zoning change is to apply as ribbon type development along the Westport Road boundary, it will not benefit the housing needs of the people of Castlebar or the full potential of the land.

She said An Bord Pleanála should support the appeal to retain the land as ‘agriculture’ as Mayo County Council has indicated in the 2023 – 2029 Development Plan.

In her assessment, Emma Nevin, planning inspector with An Bord Pleanála, said the site in question is zoned for residential.

Ms. Nevin continued: “The appellant is requesting that An Bord Pleanála support the appeal to retain the land as agriculture.

“However, the board is restricted in its determination of the appeal due to the criteria set out in Section 653B of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 Act. As such, the proposed rezoning of lands does not fall within the criteria.

“The appellant references the ‘Mayo County Plan for 2023 – 2029’ which has identified the lands as ‘agricultural’.

“However, I note that the Draft Castlebar Town & Environs’ Local Area Plan, 2023-2029, also indicates the subject lands zoned as ‘agriculture’, (but) this local area plan has not been approved to date.

“I also note that the subject site was zoned for residential at the relevant cut-off dates for considering lands to be in-scope for the supplemental maps.

“The use of the lands for farming/agriculture purposes does not qualify as criteria for omitting the lands from the map under Section 653B of the Act, as amended.

“The council, in their determination, also state, as a matter of fact, that the site has road access, a footpath network, and public lighting along the Old Westport Road, water and surface water via the public water, wastewater and surface water infrastructure, and wastewater connection via the public wastewater sewer as well as combing foul/surface water infrastructure.

“In this regard, I consider that the site is suitably zoned and serviced to allow for residential dwellings.”

The board supported the inspector in her recommendation on the matter.