SF candidate Leanne Saurin.
Development Zone 6 in the Louth County Development Plan 2015-2021 aims to preserve and protect the heritage and cultural environment of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Brú na Bóinne, Monasterboice and the Battle of the Boyne.
However, local election candidate Leanne Saurin has been contacted by a number of residents, land owners and those eligible under local needs expressing their concern at the extent of the zone.
The Sinn Fein candidate said “While I’m not disputing the need to preserve and protect the heritage sites in the area, I am contesting the extent of the zone.
She says it is preventing families who have lived in the area their entire lives from building a house of their own and also blocks famers pursuing agricultural developments such as extensions on their farms.
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“I know of families and friends who have resided in Tullyallen, Sheepgrange and Hill of Rath to name but a few, all their lives and who now find themselves being refused planning permission on the grounds of local needs because of the Zone 6 plan” Ms Saurin said.
“As a result the impact on families in rural parishes is one where children are forced to leave an area they have lived in all their lives and quite often elderly parents are left without family support.
“Again, while the preservation of our heritage sites is of the utmost importance, in many cases the area covered under these zones is quite extensive and the protected structures are not visible from large sections of the zone. Therefore there would be no visual impact on the heritage sites themselves by one off rural dwellings.
“This control zone was introduced into the Louth Development Plan 2015-2021 and that plan is due to be opened again for review and consultation in the near future and I will be seeking a reduction on the extent of the Zone area which will benefit local families while at the same time protecting these precious heritage sites. I will be encouraging the local communities to do likewise.”