Ballymahon planning permission is a 'death knell' for Dun Áras

Residents devastated over council's decision to grant planning permission

Jessica Thompson

Reporter:

Jessica Thompson

Email:

jessica.thompson@longfordleader.ie

Dun Aras

Residents are protesting the proposed development of another 39 houses in Dún Áras

Ballymahon residents are “devastated” by Longford County Council’s decision to grant planning permission for the construction of 35 new dwellings in the existing 24-house Dun Áras estate and have voiced their intention to lodge an appeal with An Bord Pleanála.

Planning permission was granted last week to engineer Mark Cunningham, who requested permission to construct 35 new dwellings, a 2.5 metre high wall separating the site from the Farmer’s Mart, and a Parkland Activity and Recreation Amenity area.

But the current residents of Dun Áras, Marian Terrace and the Ballymulvey Road, who lodged their objections earlier this year feel that none of their concerns were addressed during the decision-making process.

“Big developments shouldn’t be placed down narrow, dangerous boreens with limited services, where they negatively impact on the existing community,” said Sean Clancy of the Dun Áras Residents Association.

“They should be developed on open, well-accessed spaces with proper access to amenities and services. In that way communities grow.

“Instead, the granting of this application is the death knell of the tight knit , existing community in Dun Áras. But what rights have residents when there’s a quick buck to be made?!”

The biggest issue affecting the residents is the amount of traffic that will use the already narrow and dangerous Ballymulvey Road.

The decision, Mr Clancy explained, will do “almost nothing” to ease these traffic safety concerns: “and, while we’re all glad that some of our green space is being preserved, this does not go far enough at all,” he added.

“The council have demanded €30,000 for the development of a cycleway to the town along the Ballymulvey road.

“This seems to fly in the face of the traffic safety issues we’ve raised, considering that cars can’t even pass this way safely at the moment, and also is no solution to the long overdue footpath along this route.

“The Ballymuvley road is too narrow to accommodate traffic, pedestrians and bicycles safely and there’s no place to widen it.

“Between this €30,000 and the €68,480 planning contribution, it feels like the council is more concerned with making an easy €100,000 than they are with road safety and the value of human lives.”

Residents in the area have already sought legal advice and have intentions to lodge an appeal with An Bord Pleanála.

“Whether we go with individual appeals or one massive group appeal is yet to be decided,” said Mr Clancy.

“In addition, we’ll be writing to and contacting our local representatives, the manager of Longford County Council and the Planning Authority as they have a lot of questions to answer.

“We’re going to continue to fight this!”

Mr Clancy was quick to thank local Cllrs Pat O'Toole and Paul Ross whose support, he says, was invaluable to the cause.

“The level of objection to this just proves how damaging the whole community in Ballymahon knows this development will be,” he added.

“We hope they can continue to give their support, and that we’re deserving of it, as we up our game to take the objections to the higher planning authority.”

The residents will lodge their appeal to An Bord Pleanála in the new year and have until January 24 to do so.