Members of Waterford County Council have been warned that they may face a ‘significant’ legal challenge if they require couples, wishing to build one-off rural houses, to demonstrate a genuine housing need in order to get planning.

The warning came from Ken Madden of Lismore in his submission on one-off rural housing in the Draft Waterford County Development Plan.

County Manager Ray O’Dwyer said the County Council had been requested to examine its current policies and practices to ensure compatibility with the Freedom of Establishment and Free Movement of Capital articles of the European Community Treaty.

A Department of the Environment circular advised that the overarching consideration for assessing ‘local needs’ in relation to bloodline, local employment and agriculture activities must not discriminate against planning applicants wishing to set up full time, home-based businesses in favour of those deemed to quality as ‘locals’.

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