Tag Archives: planning permission

Liveaboards and planning permission

The minister speaks.

They’re taking the [bodily fluid]

Of the cost of land to be acquired for a canal to Clones:

We understand that the costs of land acquisition are based on the purchase of 46 hectares of land (equivalent to approx. 114 acres), the majority of which is poor quality agricultural land for a total estimated cost of €6m. This is equivalent to an average price for acquisition of just over €52,500 per acre, although the total acquisition costs would also include legal costs associated with the process.

Nevertheless, an average price of €52,500 would appear to be very high compared with the average price at which agricultural land is currently sold in the area. If an average price of €25,000 per acre (including legal costs) was applied, then total land acquisition costs would be reduced to €2.85m. This is still a generous assumption. The average RoI price of agricultural land in 2014 was less than €10,000. [Irish Farmers’ Journal Agricultural Land Price Report 2013 January 2014]

That’s from Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Restoring the Ulster Canal from Lough Erne to Clones: Updated Business Case February 2015. Hats off to Fitzpatrick Associates for checking and for leaving the information in the final report. I have written to Waterways Ireland to ask for more information:

I would be grateful if you could let me have a list of

  • the names and addresses of the owners of the land you propose to buy to build a canal to Clones

  • map references or maps showing the location of that land

  • the size and nature of each plot of land you propose to acquire

  • the amount you propose to pay for each plot

  • the justification for each such amount.

Actually, I have the list of landowners in Co Monaghan, because it’s in the planning application. I can’t find the equivalent on the NI Planning Service’s website because I can’t work out how to search by applicant.

The stony grey soil of Monaghan must be worth more than one might think. Either that or this proposal is a steaming dunghill.

What is the point of newspapers?

The Irish Independent says today:

Canal ‘to reopen’ after 80 years

Part of the cross-border Ulster Canal which has not been used for 80 years is to reopen, it has been revealed. […]

It says that the NI environment minister, Alex Attwood, announced that planning permission had been granted in Northern Ireland for the restoration of the Clones Sheugh and that Brian Cassells of the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland expected restoration to be extended all the way to Lough Neagh, which he thought would be a good thing.

Waterways Ireland has a press release here [PDF], the Impartial Reporter covers it here, the Indo’s sister-paper the Belfast Telegraph report is here and 4ni has a brief account here.

I realise that it would be folly to expect newspapers to know anything about the subjects they write about, but shouldn’t they do something to check the press releases they’re given? A moment’s googling would have shown that “is to reopen” is, to put it mildly, an overstatement, because there can be no reopening until funding is provided. The last Irish government undertook to pay the cost but soon found that it couldn’t afford it; it and its successor have, since then, been trying to disguise the fact (and to find a crock of gold).

Of course, even if the Irish government does find the funding, spending it on a dead-end stump of a canal to Clones would be a waste of money, and there is not the slightest possibility that the canal will ever get any further. Some Clones folk, and inland boat-owners, are all in favour of it, but they’re not offering to pay for it.

But back to the newspapers. Shouldn’t they check the context, as well as the content, of press releases to ensure that the published accounts tell the full story?