Thursday 17 October 2019

'New Ross has been forgotten and neglected by the council'

Municipal Chairman criticises Wexford County Council for their lack of local progress

Cllr John Fleming at the site in Butlersland in New Ross which has planning for two advance factories
Cllr John Fleming at the site in Butlersland in New Ross which has planning for two advance factories

David Looby

The chairman of New Ross Municipal District council has criticised the lack of follow up from Wexford County Council on major projects planned for the town and area.

Cllr John Fleming said: 'New Ross been forgotten and neglected by Wexford County Council. Here we are at a site in Butlersland which has planning permission for two advance factories since February 2015, four years ago and not a sod turned.'

The Fianna Fáil councillor said the two advance factories were to be state-of-the-art design, adding that he now believes there is going to be a submission for a change in planning. 'What next? I notice work progressing in the other districts including a new technology park in Enniscorthy, The Hatch Lab in Gorey and Trinity Wharf which has been launched in Wexford. When planning permission is granted in the other three districts, they are acted upon, but not New Ross. To make matters worse I found there is no appetite from Wexford County Council to help bring in (natural) gas services to New Ross.'

Cllr Fleming said he has spoken to all parties involved and all were positive apart from Wexford County Council.

'There is mains gas in Wexford town and Waterford City. Wexford town's gas is piped from Great Island which is over 40km away, whereas the connection to New Ross is less than 10km. It's highly unlikely mains gas will come to the town now and this will leave New Ross hugely disadvantaged and unattractive from a business point of view compared to our neighbouring towns.

Green Bio Fuels is the town's only anchor tenant and for them to bear the brunt of all the costs incurred would not be financially viable.'

He said companies like Green Bio Fuels who employ approximately 40 staff in New Ross need to be assisted by Wexford County Council and not 'ignored'.

'Wexford County Council's Economic Section have turned their back on New Ross. Rates were hugely increased to finance these projects with New Ross town centre bearing the brunt of this with over a 20 per cent increase. Logically one would think the New Ross projects would be to the forefront and not forgotten about. I have the brochure of projects to be delivered in New Ross district from the rates increase and it makes great reading, but that's all.'

Cllr Fleming expressed concern about retail in New Ross. 'There is no sports shop in the town and now Paddy Walsh's Cloth Hall is closing down. Do the county council not see what's happening in New Ross? To compound matters The Draft Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy for the Southern Region recently stated in the Sunday Business Post that they were concentrating on key towns for development in County Wexford, namely Gorey and Wexford town, so again New Ross is being forgotten. A couple of years ago I, like many, had great hopes for New Ross and the district with work starting on the new bypass, factories going to be built and gas coming to town. There was hope for new jobs for our youth, keeping our sons and daughters in the locality, but now I fear the worst.'

He said instead of being a job creator for the town, the new bypass will begin taking people out of New Ross for jobs once it opens later this year.

'You hear of how towns which were by bypassed have benefited with the alleviation of traffic congestion etc. but if shops keep closing, the town will have little to offer and will suffer badly as a result,' he said.

New Ross Standard