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Implications of dezoning land must be outlined clearly to elected representatives of Clare County Council.

Kilkee representative, Cllr Cillian Murphy (FF) stressed the importance of having an awareness around the impact of dezoning land.

He asked Clare County Council to undertake an assessment and provide a breakdown of all local authority owned lands zoned for development, whether commercial, industrial or residential, in the West Clare Municipal District.

Senior executive officer with the Economic Development directorate, Carmel Greene outlined, “the term ‘land’ can have many forms in terms of property ownership”. She detailed that the Council’s portfolio of public land includes housing property, land for development, roads, road verges and footpaths, open space such as beaches, burial grounds, corporate buildings, fire stations and libraries.

Presently, over 5,000 individual pieces of property are in the ownership of the Council. “These may all be at various stages of occupation or development, at planning or construction stage, leased to Community Groups, grazing agreements, licences, undergoing refurbishment,” she explained.

Within the past two years, a property management unit was established by the local authority “with a focus on undertaking an assessment of the properties in our ownership and this work is ongoing. It is a multi-year project to carry out this assessment on each piece of property and to determine options for its economic use”.

Speaking at a recent meeting of the West Clare MD, Cllr Murphy said the impetus for the proposal stemmed from COVID-19 and the opportunities presented from the pandemic. “There is a huge drive for affordable housing and for people to live in areas that they wouldn’t have previously considered. We need to understand the impact of dezoning”.

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