LIMERICK County Council has denied claims that it is â€œcreamingâ€ legal costs out of ordinary people after it emerged that it has received â‚¬337,600 in court fees from planning enforcement cases over the past three years.
Figures published by the council this week show that since 2009, the local authority has issued 839 enforcement notices and secured a total of 81 court convictions against people for breaches of planning.
However, senior planners have rejected accusations that they are â€œtoo strictâ€ in denying permission for once-off houses, or that they are excessive in taking legal action.
The figures, which were released by director of planning Tom Enright following a request from Cllr Liam Galvin, show that there has been a steady decline in the number of planning applications being made over the past three years.
In 2011 to date, 824 valid applications have been received, compared to 1,269 in 2009 and 1,022 in 2010. Over the past three years, the council has granted permission for a total of 83 per cent of cases ruled on, while 16.6 per cent were refused.
The figures also show that while the council has spent â‚¬205,950 on prosecuting planning breaches in court since 2009, it has recouped â‚¬337,600 in costs during the same period.