Wednesday 26 June 2019

Willow Grove residents welcome road change as battle to have estate taken in charge by council continues


Residents make a protest outside a meeting of Dundalk Municipal Area earlier this year
Residents make a protest outside a meeting of Dundalk Municipal Area earlier this year
The poor road surface in Willow Grove

Olivia Ryan

A major step forward in the battle to have a housing development, built in the 1970s, taken in charge by Louth County Council was taken in the last week.

Willow Grove on the Carrick Road has been the subject of much public debate after residents launched a campaign highlighting the 'terrible condition' of the estate.

The road through the development in particular was filled with large potholes, which had expanded to such an extent that it became, according to one local councillor 'impossible to get in or out of the estate.'

Cllr. Maria Doyle who has led calls for it to be 'Taken in Charge' by the local authority, welcomed moves by Louth County Council to take over the public road.

'I am delighted that Louth County Council published a notice regarding their intention to declare the road in Willow Grove a public road. It's taken time and a lot of effort from several people to get to this stage,' said Cllr. Doyle

'I raise Willow Grove at almost every monthly meeting of the Dundalk Municipal District, so I am really delighted to see this issue progress.'

She added that although the entire estate has not yet progressed to the 'taking in charge' stage, it was a much welcome move for residents to see a move on the road through their estate.

'There has been a issue with no bond available for Willow Grove, but I know the residents are working hard to resolve this issue,' said Cllr. Doyle.

Residents had, only in the last few months, taken their campaign to the Town Hall, with a direct appeal to Louth County Council

In a statement the Willow Grove Residents Association outlined how their estate was built in 1978 with 98 houses completed by McCaughey developments.

'We understand that a paper bond of €30,000 was taken out by McCaughey developments, and in 1998 they applied to have the estate taken in charge by the former Dundalk Urban Council. However this application was withdrawn, and no reason why was cited.'

'Despite this, the roads and footpaths were disintegrating and residents were forced to use cement to repair pot holes on the estate for their safety and that of our children.'

The residents did hold a successful plebiscite, and a motion was brought before the Dundalk Municipal Committee meeting to have it taken in charge. The motion was passed.

'We cannot and will not stand by and let our estate disintegrate,' said a spokesman. 'We are proud of our estate and have been awarded a prize every year in the Tidy Towns competition. We are appealing to our public representatives to assist us in having our estate taken in charge under Section 180 of the planning and Development Act 2000.'

The Argus