Planners refuse 98 homes in Greystones because town has ‘already hit population target’

Wicklow County Council decision could mean an effective ban on new planning permissions in the Greystones–Delgany area until 2028

Wicklow County Council has refused planning permission for 98 houses near Greystones on residentially zoned land, on the basis that the town has already reached its population target for 2028.

The decision could have far-reaching implications – including an effective ban on new planning permissions in the Greystones–Delgany area for the next five years.

Cairn Homes applied to Wicklow County Council in April for permission to construct 89 new homes at Coolegad, on the northern fringe of Greystones, an area close to the local, Temple Carrig School.

Cairn Homes currently has an application for 586 new homes covering the same site and adjoining lands, made directly to Bord Pleanála last year, under the State’s former Strategic Housing Development (SHD) initive. Bord Pleanála’s website is still reporting that decision as scheduled to be made by July 25th 2022 but no decision has been recorded on the file. Sources said a decision has not been made and is not likely to be made until much later this year.


Wicklow County Council had no decision making powers in relation to the larger application as it went directly to Bord Pleanála.

In refusing the smaller application, Wicklow County Council said the core strategy set out in its County Development Plan 2022-2028 “indicates that the housing targets for the Greystones-Delgany settlement in the plan period have already been reached”.

The council also noted the State’s settlement strategy was to consolidate development at the core of existing towns and village and in this regard the Coolagad development was considered over-development on the periphery of Greystones-Delgany.

Local Fine Gael councillor Derek Mitchell welcomed the decision saying a pause in development in the area “would allow infrastructure to catch up”.

“Last year’s census showed that the population was 300 below the [2028] target of 21,727. There are over 1,000 houses with permission, many being constructed, so when occupied the population will be at least 23,000, probably 24,000.”

He said new planning permissions would likely not be granted by the council until new targets were set in 2028, “or unless the council’s decision is appealed and struck down by Bord Pleanála”.

“There has been a huge expansion of Greystones but this is the first time I have seen a refusal based on being over target population. The challenge for the local authority is to get the infrastructure, transport and budget to support all this development”, he said.

Under regional and national planning guidelines, Bray and Wicklow have been given a higher priority for growth, with lower levels chosen for Arklow and Greystones.

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist