Labour Senator Ged Nash has criticised the lack of transparency and clarity afforded to local residents of Old Dawsons Demesne in Ardee as they continue to fight their case against a new access lane that will link the cul-de-sac with the new Castle Guard development.
Nash visited the area and spoke to a number of concerned residents who feel increased activity on the lane will be a danger to motorists and pedestrians alike. Locals are also angered by how the planning application and decision on providing access between the two areas have been made.
Old Dawson’s residents – after years of being under the impression a laneway could and would not be facilited – were angered to discover only weeks ago that the there was in fact an access lane in the plans. They say proper procedure has not been followed and they have not been given ample opportunity to submit their opposition to the move.
A 106-home Castle Guard project, the access point will allow pedestrian’s from the new estate to and from the town centre – but locals on Old Dawson’s say encouraging increased pedestrian capacity on the lane will put residents and those walking on the lane at risk.
Speaking to ThisIsArdee.ie earlier in the month, resident Jenny Burke said, “The first time we saw this new map was a few weeks ago when a few of the residents on the boundary of the development met with the developer to discuss it.”
“The developer said he can’t put a wall there because it’s a condition of planning. He needed access. But he did say that if we get a letter from Louth CoCo stating to close off the access, he’d close it off.”
However, despite putting their request in writing, the local authority have told the residents they are unable to provide them with such a letter as the developer can not overturn an An Bord Pleanala ruling. “It was there in a roundabout way but it wasn’t blatantly obvious to anyone,” Burke says of the ABP decision on the access lane.
Residents of the lane say they were not made aware of changes to the planning application in 2016. They expected to see two gardens backing onto the end of their cul-de-sac but more recent plans show a pathway which links the two residential areas – raising ire amongst locals.
“How can we object to something that was never shown to us?” said one concerned resident.
At today’s meeting with residents, Nash said there were questions to be answered. “I have a number of questions I want to ask the County Council about this. I would be very concerned about the lack of information in the public domain.
“When a public right of way is put in or taken out, there was to be a process,” he said. “The net point here is a lack of clarity the council have shown in regards to access. It should be out in the open. I would be very concerned when you make such a substantial change to a plan that will have an effect on people’s way of life.
The former Minister of State for Business & Employment added that the issue was not with the development itself saying that everyone wanted to see people housed and the country was in the midst of a housing crisis.
“When local authorities and developers come together, it should be in the open and on file for the public to see. It’s not good enough – it’s very shaky ground,” he told residents.
Nash hold’s a twice monthly clinic in Ardee – in Hamills meeting room on Bridge Street – on the first and third Monday of every month at 5.30pm.