Time to move on 2020 plan for the area says councillor
Call for progress
Councillor Gerry O'Neill is calling for a special meeting of Baltinglass Municipal District so the Blessington Local Area Plan can be set in motion.
Public consultations on the local plan for 2020 to 2025 were due to take place this year put were put on hold until the National Development Plan was in place. The current plan was adopted in 2013 but will come to an end at the close of 2019.
Cllr O’Neill fears that not enough time will be dedicated to the new plan unless some movement beings to take place.
‘Nothing is happening at the moment, which greatly concerns me. We were meant to start the public consultation process this year so we could receive submissions for the new plan nice and early. But the Minister asked that all local area plans be put on hold because of the National Development Plan. It is vitally important that the people of Blessington have their say on the plan and have plenty of time to do so. The new plan has to be implemented in 2019 and nothing at all has happened yet,’ said Cllr O’Neill.
He also doesn’t want to see any housing plans in Blessington held up because of an appeal to An Bord Pleanála against the planned upgrade of the Blessington Sewage Scheme.
‘It’s important that we sit down and plan properly. We have a huge housing crisis in Blessington with housing at the moment, especially social housing. It’s the worst housing crisis I have seen in my lifetime. We also have no emergency accommodation in west Wicklow. In the past ten years Blessington has only received one solitary home for social housing. At this time of year things can get particularly desperate for people. There are plans for roughly 50 houses in Blessington and we need to get to work on constructing them. Between all the different phases - from going to tender to constructing the houses - you are talking about the guts of two years. Surely the sewage system will have been upgraded by then. We also need to look at rezoning land for a swimming pool and another area for recreational use. We need to see the plan get moving because it would be for the benefit of the whole community. It is essential that we start making some progress soon."