Residents: ‘We won’t take this lying down’

Jonathan Reynolds and Brian Compton. Photo: Michelle Ghee. www.gphotos.ie
Angry residents have vowed to fight “tooth and nail” against any designs council officials may have on giving a building firm planning permission to build 250 new houses in Longford town.

Angry residents have vowed to fight “tooth and nail” against any designs council officials may have on giving a building firm planning permission to build 250 new houses in Longford town.

Homeowners from both White Linen Woods and neighbouring estates were among the public gallery at last week’s Longford Town Council meeting as politicians debated Laragan Land and Property Ltd’s proposed development plans.

And in a marked departure from what is normally played out at local authority meetings, newly inducted Mayor Cllr Paul Connell allowed residents to air their doubts openly.

Local woman, Mary Geoghegan was the first to speak, sounding her unease about the safety, population increase, suitability of housing and market demand another 250 houses would bring to the wider area.

Her neighbour and fellow homeowner Fergus Reynolds followed that up by issuing a series of observations.

He said he couldn’t understand why the council was even considering such a large scale project when more than 1,000 empty units had yet to be filled in the Longford urban area alone.

“Surely, and since the Celtic Tiger collapse, this area should be rezoned back for agricultural use,” he said, as he queried whether sizeable development levies were at stake.

“It gives me no pleasure to trot out these figures,” he told a near silent council chamber. “But it is ridiculous to think any council would even consider approving this application.”

First revealed by the Leader last month, and which has subsequently been reported on by both local and national media, Roscommon firm Laragan Land and Property Ltd also plan on building a creche at Abbeycartron and Aghedegnan in Longford town.

The company, headed by directors Alan and Joseph Hanley, has recently moved to calm fears over its financial well-being.

A spokesman denied it was in receivership, despite the Company Registration Office (CRO) and central archive for statutory information on Irish companies continuing to state otherwise.