Residents living within yards of a proposed but ultimately doomed large scale housing development in Longford town believe “people power” won out in the end.
In July, Longford Co Council rejected plans by Laragan Land and Property Ltd to build 140 new houses in Longford’s Abbeycartron area.
When representatives from the Roscommon based firm opted against appealing the decision to An Bord Pleanala, those plans effectively went up in smoke.
Chairman of the Abbeycartron Residents Association, Fergus Reynolds said the end result justified many months of painstaking, behind the scenes efforts.
“I personally did think they (Laragan) would fight it,” he said.
“What really annoyed me in the early stages was people saying: ‘Oh this is a done deal’ and that we were wasting our time.”
Originally, and as first reported by the Leader last year, developers had set their sights on building 251 new houses, together with a creche at Abbeycartron and Aughadegnan.
Those plans, on foot of a request for further information by local authority planning officials and concerns from local residents, saw Laragen row back on their initial submission.
Over 100 houses were withdrawn from the plans, though plans for a 120sq metre creche together with a “possible” 5 classroom sized school in time remained.
So too did the concern harboured by Mr Reynolds and local residents.
A 97 strong petition was handed into the now defunct Longford Town Council’s hedquarters on Market Square and intense local lobbying continued.
“People power was the difference,” said Mr Reynolds.
The Longford homeowner said the knock on effect a further 140 houses would have had on the local landscape was almost unthinkable.
“It would have decimated the area. When the property tax valuations were issued my house was valued at €140,000. If that (development) had gone ahead, you could have dropped it by another 50 per cent easily.”
He added had the state planning authority overturned the plans, the likelihood of legal and more far reaching measures would have been considered.
“We would have looked at a judicial review and even civil disobedience.
“It was about time the ordinary fella on the street was listened to. Enough was enough,” he said.