No more permission will be given for holiday homes in the Kerry countryside, a planning meeting has been told. The director of planning at Kerry County Council, Paul Stack, said the “Kerry brand” – unspoilt landscape and clean environment – would be fundamentally damaged if the council did not ban holiday-home development in the countryside.
The meeting was also told stringent restrictions on all one-off housing was needed. The council meeting to consider a new five-year development plan was told that the level of holiday homes in some areas far exceeded the indigenous population and that the overall consequence of the “sporadic one-off development” of the boom years was a deterioration of the landscape. The county’s ground water was under threat with the plethora of septic tanks, one in three of which did not function properly.
The choice was stark between limited numbers of housing for locals and holiday homes, councillors were told. Half of the almost 12,000 empty but habitable homes in Kerry were in rural areas and there were some 8,200 holiday homes, Mr Stack said.
He said the stark facts of the boom in Kerry were that 17,600 houses were built between 2002 and 2007 and, of these, 7,600 were one-off houses in the countryside. “This is enough to accommodate a population growth of 46,000 people, but the population increased by only 6,000,” Mr Stack said.
There was a total of 72,000 houses in Kerry and 38,000 were in the countryside. “We need to be very, very careful . . . in relation to further development in the countryside,” Mr Stack said.
Councillors Danny and Michael Healy-Rae urged the executive to consider their attitude and think of ways to regenerate rural living.
The rural strategy proposed by management will go out for public comment