Permission has been granted for 167 new homes on the Longford Road (Steeples Road) in Duleek, despite submissions expressing reservations about the suitability of the project and how the local schools system will cope into the future.
However, An Bord Pleanala approved the project, taking all the comments into consideration.
'A number of observers have expressed concerns that Duleek does not offer the level of community type services that would sustain the level of development proposed. The lack of schools and in particular a post primary school is highlighted, together with a dearth of parks and play areas for children.
'The applicant has supported the application with a Social Infrastructure Audit, that looks at demographics and the availability of existing facilities linked to health/wellbeing, childcare and education.
'In general terms the report states an acceptable level of facilities and in relation to schools it states that their study of local school capacity confirms that based on previous enrolment figures, there are sufficient primary school places in the local area to cater for the proposed development.
'The report also notes that the primary and secondary school requirements will be catered for by the existing primary schools and secondary schools in the area as established by an assessment of school need undertaken by Meath County Council. Observers disagree and this perception is perhaps more a reflection of what has been allowed to develop in Duleek and what has actually materialised in terms of social infrastructure to date.
'The fact of the matter is that three primary schools serve Duleek and they are, not ideally, located in the countryside outside the town. Nevertheless, they are in place and according to figures available to me, will be in a position to accommodate the school going population of the development when built,' the board's inspector stated.
Observers raised aesthetic and traffic safety concerns about the way the development fronts onto the Longford Road, but the planning authority did raise any particular concern and welcome the new frontage and pedestrian facilities along Longford Road.
Some concerns were expressed that the proposed development will impact upon the heritage value of Duleek, but the planning authority do not hold the same opinions.
A number of observers have raised concerns that the proposed development will be out of character with nearby housing estates.
The inspector added, 'I am satisfied that the design and layout of the entire site, at a central location within the town, will be a positive addition to the built form of Duleek.