Wednesday 27 March 2019

Councillors to hold special meeting on development

Margaret Roddy at Dundalk Municipal Area meeting

Councillors are to hold a special meeting about plans by McCaughey Developments to build 166 homes and a creche at Old Golf Links Road.

The application for planning permission for the development has been made to An Bord Pleanala rather that Louth County Council as it falls within the Strategic Housing Development legislation to speed up the planning process and fast track larger housing estates.

The Municipal District of Dundalk meeting last Tuesday heard that 22 submissions had been lodged with An Bord Pleanala in relation to the proposed development during the public consultation period from December 14 2018 to January 29 2019.

The submissions, which came from residents of the Cois Farriaige estate, Blackrock Tidy Towns, residents of Tuite's Lane as well as individual residents, Irish Water and Inland Fisheries, covered a range of issues.

Senior Planner Emer O'Callaghan said that the main concerns were about density and architecture and the inclusion of apartments in the scheme, how the scheme fitted with the Development Plan and Core Strategy, access to Tuite's Lane, the capacity of nearby roads, footpaths, car parking, access to public transport, green areas and landscaping, flooding, street lighting, habitat and archaelogy. Blackrock Tidy Towns had raised concern about the extent which existing community facilities could cope with a development of this magnitude,

The Chief Executive Joan Martin had set out her opinion on the submissions and had indicated that the proposed density of the 35 hectare site, while higher than in neighbouring estates, was in line with the recommendations of the Dundalk & Environs Development plan 2009-2015.

It was noted that while there is a public right of way over Tuite's Lane, it has not been taken in charge by the Council. It would represent poor planning if permeability was not provided for between Tuite's Lane and Cois Farraige.

Regarding concerns about footpaths, the Council has been allocated €100,000 to provide a footpath on the Old Golf Links Road and the footpath in front of the Cois Farraige estate has been completed after the Council took enforcement action.

Concerns that street lighting would shine directly into the back gardens of houses on Tuite's Lane could be addressed by a planning condition.

Cllr Maria Doyle recalled that a €12m project to redevelop the Rock Road had been shelved due to the recession and she felt that if the work was deemed necessary back in 2006, it would be needed now.

She was also concerned about the right of way on Tuite's Lane.

Cllr Thomas Sharkey recalled attending meetings at which opposition had been voiced to the Gort na Glaise development but it had brought a new community and young families to the village.

He 0was, he said, 'pretty supportive' of this application as it was close Blackrock's second primary school. If they were investing in pubic facilities, why wouldn't they have more people living close to them, he asked.

The time was right for a new generation of families in the parish to be able to live next to their siblings and parents and support them in their old age.

He would see the development as being positive.

Cllr Emma Coffey liked that the proposed development will be 'a mixed development catering for all areas of life.' She too was concerned about the quality of footpaths and wondered if the €100,000 be adequate to complete the footpath on the Old Golf Links Road.

Cllr Marianne Butler argued that the development 'is not in accordance with the Dundalk and Environs Plan' and was far removed from the aims of the Core Strategy.

She was backed by Cllr Mark Dearey who took the view that the application should be dealt with by Louth County Council rather than An Bord Pleanala as he didn't consider it fulfilled the basis for an application for strategic housing.

Ms O'Callaghan said that as the development was for over 100 houses it had to go to An Bord Pleanala and that the Bord has acknowledged that Core Strategy has hampered some developments from going ahead.

Cllr Maeve Yore said she had concerns about the track record of the developer and asked if it was the same as Cois Farraige. Ms O'Callaghan confirmed that it was.

Chairperson Cllr Conor Keelan also believed that the application should have been dealt with by the local authority rather than being sent to Dublin.

It was agreed that a special meeting take place on February 18 so that the councillors could have all their submissions made by the deadline of February 22.

The Argus