Row over contentious Ballymahon estate to rumble on

Developer says end product will have "positive long term effect" on local economy

Jessica Thompson

Reporter:

Jessica Thompson

Email:

jessica.thompson@longfordleader.ie

Dun Áras

An aerial view of Ballymahon's Dun Áras estate.

Residents of Ballymahon are “dismayed” this week following the county council Planning Office decision to grant conditional planning permission for the construction of 32 new homes in the Dun Áras estate.

Local engineer, Mark Cunningham, under the new name of Beacon Assets Ltd., submitted his application in September - only four months after An Bord Pleanála rejected what Dun Áras residents say is “effectively the same plan”.

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“This has been a tough blow to take for the residents, especially as our efforts and the efforts of the council to finally have our estate taken in charge by the local authority have been hampered by this process and application this year,” read a statement from the Dun Áras Residents Association, which was provided to this newspaper on Monday.

The residents now have plans to take their appeals back to An Bord Pleanála “after once again finding deaf ears in Longford County Council”.

“Once again, the principal point of appeal will be based on traffic and pedestrian safety. The lack of an existing pedestrian footpath linking the estate to Main Street Ballymahon along the Ballymulvey road has now twice been raised as an issue by An Bord Pleanála and the presence of a path was this year indicated as a requirement for any grant of planning,” said the residents.

The funding of such a footpath is one of 22 conditions the Planning Office has specified and, while Mr Cunningham has remained steadfast in his promise to provide a footpath, the residents remain sceptical.

“Given previous record of non-compliance to the Bord’s directives in relation to this site, we fear that this condition will not guarantee the provision of this vital infrastructure and we will continue to object to any developments of this scale along the Ballymulvey road until such time as this pathway is already in place.”

When contacted by The Longford Leader Mark Cunningham stated;
“I welcome the decision to grant permission. A development of this type will have a positive long term effect on the local economy by helping to meet the housing needs of both Ballymahon and the new employees of Center Parcs.

“Any development that will provide homes close to places of employment will help to ensure that potential local business is not lost to neighbouring towns such as Athlone and Mullingar.”