Sunday 22 September 2019

Planners hope ecology issues won't scupper greenway plan

Multi-million euro 6km drogheda - mornington greenway route progressing, but it will now be decided by An Bord Pleanala

Hubert Murphy

Fears of a negative impact on ecology in the area - which sidelined a proposed walkway in Wexford recently - is something planners of the Drogheda to Mornington Greenway are very keen to address as part of their planning for the 6km route.

Updating local councillors on the multi-million euro project, they said they were aware of issues in Wexford with a similiar project, but they had put a huge amount of expert analysis into the proposal and hope it's enough.

Nicholas Wyatt remarked, 'there are no guarantees that we will win the argument, as the bar is being raised higher and higher.'

The main issue is that the council had been looking to progress the project through their own planning system, but they have been advised to send it to An Bord Pleanala for approval instead.

Stringent guidelines are now in place in respect of such projects.

Cllr Stephen McKee raised the case of the proposed campsite close to part of the planned greenway. It went to An Bord Pleanala and was refused on the impact to the environment and being on a flood plain, amongst other issues.

'We have to make sure the same can't happen to this,' he stated.

He said the Greenway had huge potential for the area and comes with basic infrastructure, traffic calming and lights, both to help locals.

'Issues have been overcome in other areas,' he added.

The route from the viaduct will create a widened walkway on the Marsh Road and then it becomes a boardwalk from the Grammar school to Mornington Bridge.

One of the most difficult areas is passing Mornington Manor where the wall of the estate will have to be set back.

Meath and Louth County Councils have met and there have also been meetings with impacted landowners.

A public consultation is planned for August where people can see the plans and the a Natura Impact Statement must be done in September. A submission to An Bord Pleanala is set for October/November 2019.

Cllr Tom Behan said he had met with Mornington Court residents and some were losing 2m from their property.

Cllr Sharon Tolan said it was three years since consultants were appointed and felt the timeframe needed to be speeded up. 'This will help students at Le Cheile and the Grammar, who can to school by bike or walk,' she stated.

The use of Crook Lane had been a stumbling block for Cllr Paddy Meade, but that had been changed. He said the fact that it was now going to An Bord Pleanala was 'worrying'.

Cllr Wayne Harding also questioned the timeframe but Cathaoirleach Sharon Keogan said she felt it would go ahead and 'that's the message that must go out'.

She said she wanted the planners to 'kick on with it.'

Nicholas Wyatt added, 'we believe there is support for it.'

Drogheda Independent