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KILDARE COUNTY COUNCIL

Minutes of Monthly Meeting
held at 11 a.m. on Monday, 19 October 2009 at
Áras Chill Dara, Devoy Park, Naas, Co Kildare

Members Present: Councillor C Purcell (Mayor); Councillors F Browne, K Byrne,
W Callaghan, R Daly, L Doyle, S Griffin, P Kennedy, P Kelly, S Langan, A Lawlor, P McEvoy, J McGinley, P MacNamara, M Miley, S. Moore,
C Murphy, M Nolan, T O’Donnell, D. Scully, M Wall and B Weld.

Apologies:  Councillors S Doyle, M Heydon and F O’ Loughlin

Also Present: Mr M Malone, County Manager, Messrs J Boland, J Lahart, P Minnock and E O’Sullivan (Directors of Services), Mr T Hunter McGowan (Head of Finance),  Ms S Kavanagh (Acting Director of Services),
C Talbot (Meetings Administrator) and other officials.

_________________________


Councillor Miley congratulated St Laurences Gaelic Football Club on winning the Senior County Championship.  Councillor McGinley congratulated Maynooth Gaelic Football Club on winning the Intermediate County Championship.  The Mayor and members acknowledged the success of the winning teams.


1/1009
Confirmation of Minutes

The council considered the minutes of the monthly meeting held on 28 September 2009, together with the progress report. 

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor Byrne, seconded by Councillor Murphy, that the minutes of the monthly meeting held on 28 September 2009 be confirmed and taken as read, subject to the following amendments:
18/0909 – Resolution to confirm the members agreement that the matter relating to the provision of a swimming pool in north Kildare be referred to the Cultural, Recreational and Community Services Strategic Policy Committee for further consideration.
20/0909 – Resolution to confirm members agreement that Councillor Kennedy’s motion requesting that the council put in place a new system to replace bin tags be referred to the Water and Environment Services Strategic Policy Committee for further consideration.

Councillor Kelly made reference to an item raised under Mayor’s business relating to a suggestion that control over the allocation of roads funding for local authorities was to be taken away from the Minister for Transport.  He stated that it had since been confirmed that this suggestion was inaccurate and the motion passed by the members was, therefore, incorrect and not in accordance with the facts.


2/1009
Committee Minutes

The Council considered the committee minutes which had been circulated with the agenda.

Celbridge Area – 11 September 2009
Kildare Area – 2 September 2009
Resolved on the proposal of Councillor McGinley, seconded by Councillor Murphy, that the minutes be noted.


3/1009
Disposal of land

0.807 ha. approximately at Woodlands West, Castledermot
The council considered statutory notice dated 1 October 2009, which had been circulated to the members under Section 183 of Local Government Act 2001 signifying intent to dispose of 0.807 ha. approximately at Woodlands West, Castledermot, Co Kildare to James Cassells, in consideration of payment of €30,000 and subject to each party being responsible for their own costs.

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor Miley, seconded by Councillor Kelly, pursuant to Section 183 of the Local Government Act 2001, that the council consent to the disposal of the land in accordance with the terms set out in the statutory notice.

0.355 ha. approximately at Killhill, Kill
The council considered statutory notice dated 1 October 2009, which had been circulated to the members under Section 183 of Local Government Act 2001 signifying intent to dispose of 0.355 ha. approximately at Killhill, Kill, Co Kildare to John Flood, in consideration of payment of €40,000 and subject to legal costs and other relevant costs to be paid by respective parties.

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor Miley, seconded by Councillor Kelly, pursuant to Section 183 of the Local Government Act 2001, that the council consent to the disposal of the land in accordance with the terms set out in the statutory notice.

Councillor Lawlor stated that a laneway between plot A and B of lands at Killhill, in the ownership of Kildare County Council, is in very bad repair and requested clarification as to whether repairs could be carried out.  The meetings administrator agreed to refer this matter to the Transport Department for consideration.

 

4/1009
Nominations for Local Traveller Accommodation
Consultative Committee

The meetings administrator referred to correspondence from Mr Perry, Senior Executive Officer, advising the members that, in accordance with the provision of Part II, Section 22, of the Housing (Traveller Accommodation) Act 1998, the County Manager proposed to nominate Mr Peter Minnock, Director of Services, Housing Section and Mr George Perry, Senior Executive Officer, Housing Section to the membership of the Local Traveller Accommodation Consultative Committee.

The meetings administrator advised the members that there was a requirement to appoint a chairperson for the Local Traveller Accommodation Consultative Committee from the members of the council already appointed to this committee.

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor Miley, seconded by Councillor McGinley, that Councillor Wall be appointed chairperson of the Traveller Accommodation Consultative Committee and that the County Manager’s appointees be agreed.


5/1009
Local Improvement Scheme 2009

The meetings administrator referred to report dated 7 October 2009 from Ms Kavanagh, Acting Director of Services, which had been circulated, setting out the recommendations for the Local Improvement Scheme 2009.  In response to a query from Councillor Murphy, Ms Kavanagh informed the members that, while there were still a number of applications on hand for this scheme, a number of those now on the list have been awaiting approval since 2007.  She added that once the grant allocation for 2010 is known consideration can be given to approving further Local Improvement Schemes.

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor Miley, seconded by Councillor Lawlor, that the Local Improvement Schemes listed in report dated 7 October 2009 proceed.


6/1009
Extinguishment of Right of Way

Ms Kavanagh, Acting Director of Services, informed the members that the Celbridge Area Committee had agreed to recommend the extinguishment of the right of way between Beatty Park and the Shackleton Road, Celbridge to the council.

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor Murphy, seconded by Councillor McGinley, that the right of way from between Beatty Park and the Shackleton Road be extinguished in accordance with Section 73 of the Roads Act 1993.


7/1009
Housing Progress Report

Mr Minnock presented the housing progress report.  He stated that approvals had been received from the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government with regard to the housing construction programme and the funding allocation will be spent by the end of October.  He advised that the upgrading of units at Old Greenfield, Maynooth, under the Energy Efficiency Plan would be commencing shortly.  He also stated that the target for the Rental Accommodation Scheme was to add an additional 50 private rented units to the agreements already in place.  Mr Minnock said that the turnaround time for vacant houses had significantly improved during 2009, adding that the practice of boarding up vacant houses had stopped almost entirely.  He informed the members that an additional grant of €663,750 had been received from the Department for grant schemes, adding that this money had already been spent in 2008 and, on this basis, it was not possible to approve any further grants at this time.  The Department has indicated that they will advise in advance of grant allocations for future years.  In preparation for allocation of future grant monies the top 100 applicants on hand have been contacted in order to establish if circumstances are still the same.

In conjunction with this item the members considered the following motion from Councillor Murphy:

We are provided with a report on the number of disabled grants applied for, the number of applicants who were written to stating there were no funds available in 2009, how many and what value of these remain to be considered in 2010.  How many adaptations of local authority houses are listed for attention, the value of the work involved and how these are to be funded. The categories and the value of the pending applicants.   How Kildare compared with other local authorities in terms of the amount of funds provided in our own estimates and grant aided by the Department etc.

Councillor Murphy stated that Kildare compares badly with grant funding allocations in other less populated counties, adding that, given the numbers of applicants waiting for grants, particularly people with medical needs requiring urgent adaptations to their homes, it was imperative that Kildare County Council request additional funding from the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government.  In welcoming the additional funding Councillor Kelly stated that a cautious approach should be taken in comparing funding allocations based on population.  Councillor Wall requested clarification as to when the top 100 applicants for housing adaptation grants could expect to be in a position to have the necessary work carried out.

Members raised a number of other issues relating to the housing progress report including a suggestion that the Housing Strategic Policy Committee investigate the protocols currently in place relating to the turnaround of vacant houses, concerns were raised with regard to anti-social behaviour in some estates in the county, clarification requested in relation to the number of houses purchased by the council this year to date, up-date requested in relation to the current position of the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government in relation to considering different options for meeting housing need.  Mr Minnock replied to the questions raised. 


8/1009
Taking in Charge of Housing Estates

Mr Hannigan presented a report to the members dated 7 October 2009 recommending the taking in charge of the following estates:
Cor na Mona, Prosperous
Kilbelin Estate, Newbridge
Ard Evan, Monasterevin
Moanbane Park, Kilcullen
Hermitage Park, Kilcullen

In response to a query from Councillor O’Donnell, Mr Hannigan agreed to send a copy of the report setting out the position with regard to all housing developments in the county, circulated to the council in April this year, to the new members.  He also stated that it would be premature to take in charge unfinished estates until such time as all houses are complete.

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor Lawlor, seconded by Councillor Weld, that the housing estates listed above be taken in charge.

 

9/1009
Votes of Sympathy

The Mayor and members expressed sympathy with the following on their recent bereavements:

Mary Ryan, Transportation Department, on the death of her father.
Ann Long [recently retired] on the death of her sister.
Sharon Rice, Corporate Services, on the death of her mother-in-law.
Family of the late Anne Behan.


10/1009
Mayor’s Business

The Mayor reminded the members that a reception for Intel would be held at 2pm on Tuesday, 20th October.


11/1009
Correspondence

The council noted receipt of the following correspondence:

• Letter from the Department of Transport dated 9 October 2009 confirming the arrangements relating to responsibility for allocation of regional and local road grants.  Noted.

• Letter from South Tipperary County Council advising of a resolution calling on the Government to waive VAT on specialised items of medical equipment where the purchase is being funded through voluntary fundraising. Noted.

 

12/1009
Local Area Plan for Kildare Town

The council considered the following motion from the Kildare Area Committee:
That the local area plan for Kildare Town be put on the priority agenda in Planning with a view to publishing a draft within the next 5 months.

The meetings administrator informed the meeting that this item had originally been raised by Councillor S Doyle at a meeting of the Kildare Area Committee and subsequently agreed by the committee that the matter be referred to full Council for consideration.  As Councillor S Doyle was unable to attend the meeting she had requested that the item be deferred to the November meeting of Council.  Councillor O’Donnell stated that, while he had no objection to the item being deferred to the November meeting of the Council, he was concerned that delaying the reply might have implications for the scheduling of the Kildare Town Local Area Plan.  The administrator read a report from the Planning Department stating that all Forward Planning staff had been assigned to the review of the County and Naas Development Plans.  Publication of any further draft local area plans has been postponed until such time as the Draft County and Naas Development Plans go on public display which is expected to be April 2010.  It is envisaged that the local area plan programme will re-commence in April and the members will be consulted as to the priority assigned to each one.

Resolved that this item be listed again for consideration at the November Council meeting and a copy of the report be circulated to the members of the Kildare Area Committee for information. 


13/1009
Review of Development Levies relating to
Protected and Listed Structures

The council considered the following motion in the name of Councillor S Doyle:
In deference to the increased costs of developing protected and listed structures and acknowledging the benefits of having these buildings restored for living use, that Kildare County Council review the current levies scheme to provide for a discounted levy to act as incentive for the re-generation of our valuable built environment.

Resolved that this item be deferred for consideration at the November Council meeting.


14/1009
Rateable Valuations

The council considered the following motion in the name of Councillor O’Donnell:
That this council recognises the value of a transparent system of rates as an essential part of the contract between the local authority and ratepayers.  The Council therefore resolves that members should be provided with periodic reports on the re-rating of premises in their LEAs, listing the number of premises, the average change in the rateable value and the maximum and minimum changes. If possible under the relevant legislation, members should also be provided with a list of the premises concerned.

Councillor O’Donnell stated that a number of business people had raised concerns about the possible re-rating of premises in order to raise additional funds.  He referred to a report that he had received, as a result of an issue he had raised at a recent meeting of the Kildare Area Committee, setting out information regarding rating of premises in the Kildare Area.  He added that it would be very useful for members to receive such information on an annual basis.  The meetings administrator read a report from the Finance Department advising that the Council will be in a position to provide an annual report to members showing the revised balances by District Electoral Division for land, buildings and others and a total.  This report will be accompanied by the previous years report for comparison purposes.  The more detailed request cannot be accommodated in the format from which the information is obtained from the valuation office at a reasonable and proportionate cost. 

Resolved that the report be noted.

 

15/1009
To arrange for adoption of River Basin Management Plans

Mr Boland informed the members that Kildare has two River Basin Plans to adopt.  He stated that the Eastern River Basin Management Plan was completed, but he wanted to be in a position to present both Plans to the members together.  He was hopeful that the National Advisory Committee would be able to clarify the position with regard to completion of the Plans within the next two weeks.  He indicated that it was likely at this stage that this matter would be listed for consideration at the December Council meeting.  He added that a special meeting of the Water and Environmental Services Strategic Policy Committee would be held to discuss this matter.


16/1009
Osberstown Sewerage Plan

The council considered the following motion in the name of Councillor Scully:
That this Council give an update to the members on the proposed upgrade works for Osberstown sewerage plant.

Councillor Scully stated that this item had been ongoing for many years and he understood that An Bord Pleanala were now refusing planning applications on the basis that there was no capacity available in Osberstown Treatment Plant.  He added that funding for the proposed upgrade had not been confirmed and it was difficult to establish if the monies were still available.  He requested clarification as to whether Kildare County Council could accommodate a major development in the county given the current position at the Osberstown plant.  Mr Boland stated that this work had been prioritised, subject to funding, and the job was ready to go to tender early in 2010.  He added that given the importance of this project in economic terms he was hopeful that it would go ahead.  In reply to a number of queries from the members Mr Boland stated that all treatment plants are now subject to a new licencing regime, which is very rigorous in ensuring water quality.  He stated that a decision had been made to do a full upgrade of the plant and not to do the work in modules, as this was considered to be more cost effective. 


17/1009
Compliance with Conditions of Planning Permission

The council considered the following motion in the name of Councillor Murphy:
We ask what systems Kildare County Council has in place to ensure conditions imposed by Kildare County Council or An Bord Pleanala are complied with i.e. revised plans to be agreed with Kildare County Council prior to development commencing.

The meetings administrator read a report from the Planning Department, which outlined the relevant legislation relating to compliance with planning permissions.  The report set out the current system in the Planning Department to track compliance with conditions, which is triggered by submission of a commencement notice.  On receipt of a commencement notice for a residential development, the Building Control Section writes to the developer advising them to submit proposals to comply with the conditions of planning permission, which have to be agreed prior to the commencement of development.  All compliance submissions received thereafter by the Planning Authority in relation to planning conditions are forwarded to a Planner and/or the relevant service departments for consideration, comment and reply. Should the Planning Authority become aware of non-compliance with a planning condition, it is referred to the Enforcement Section for investigation.

Councillor Murphy stated that she has received numerous complaints arising from situations where conditions of a planning permission have not been complied with, adding that the current system for tracking compliance did not seem to be working.  Mr Lahart stated that he was satisfied that there was a robust system in place.  He added that the Planning Authority would act on any specific complaints received relating to non-compliance with conditions.  Councillor Kelly stated that problems are being encountered as developers are not submitting proposals for compliance before development commences, as required by conditions. 

Resolved that the report be noted.

 


18/1009
Any Other Business

Councillor Griffin requested clarification as to the status of the Historic Monuments Committee.  The meetings administrator stated that instructions had been received from the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government that specialist committees should be amalgamated into a Strategic Policy Committee where possible.  He suggested that the issue relating to the Historic Monuments Committee could be considered further when the Strategic Policy Committees were being formulated.

Councillor Callaghan requested clarification as to when the outside positions on the Vocational Education Committee would be advertised.  The meetings administrator stated that he was awaiting confirmation on this matter which he hoped to receive in the coming week.

Resolved on the proposal of Councillor Purcell, seconded by Councillor McGinley, that Any Other Business be removed from the Council agenda.

 

____

The meeting concluded.