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Permission granted for Castleguard estate completion

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Work continues on the Castleguard estate in Ardee. Photo Credit: Adrian Crawley.
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This article originally appeared on ThisIsArdee.ie

70 new homes will be built at the site of the new Castleguard Manor Development after Louth County Council granted conditional planning permission for the start of phase two of the new housing estate. The new homes will be in addition to the 29 already built at the site.

The completion will include 70 homes with 26 four bedroom semi detached houses, 28 three bed semi detached homes, 3 three bed detached unit, three terrace blocks with a mixture of seven two bedroom units and six three bedroom units.

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The first phase of 29 homes are set to be occupied soon, with council officials saying earlier this month that the homes would be ready for occupation by the end of September. According to council officials, there is more housing construction activity in Mid-Louth than the any of the three Municipals this year. They feel that will help make significant inroads to the housing list in Mid-Louth in 2017.

However, the decision will come as a blow to residents of Old Dawson’s Demesne who have fought and lobbied extensively for Louth County Council to reverse the decision to allow a public access walkway linking the new estate with the century old cul-de-sac.

Councillors and TDs have aired their staunch opposition to the move to allow pedestrian access from Castleguard Manor to the centre of town via Old Dawson’s. TDs Fergus O’Dowd and Declan Breathnach wrote letters to the council stating their support for residents, while several Ardee Municipal councillors also wrote letters in opposition of the intention to build the walkway.

The lane that links Old Dawson’s Demesne to Campbell’s Park and new Dawsons is so narrow in parts that only one car can pass at any one time. There are no foothpaths on the lane nor is there street lighting.

Locals on Old Dawson’s say encouraging increased pedestrian capacity on the lane will put residents and those walking on the lane at risk. It is expected that the pedestrian usage on the lane will increase by 300% if the current plans go ahead. A number of submissions and objections – all from residents on or near to Old Dawson’s (and Dawsons Demesne/Campbells Park Residents Association) – were made against the application for completion permission.

Castle Guard developers – Quarry Road Developments Ltd  – had previously told locals that they were happy to try and assist residents in blocking off access to the century-old estate but they are bound by planning conditions to open the walkway upon completion of the project. At the same meeting, the developers in charge of the build said that the council will “categorically” deny any attempt to close the access way within a competition application.

In July, Louth County Council Senior Executive Officer Aoife Lawlor Ardee Municipal District told councillors the access route between the estates is necessary. “I’d be very disappointed if the walkway didn’t go ahead,” she said. “It’s promoting sustainable communities. People can walk into town, rather than driving. As a housing agency, we would be be promoting the walkway.”

When asked by Jim Tenanty whether the local authority had any say on the matter given the entire development is to be made up of social housing,  Lawlor said; “It had planning permission as a private development. We did not influence the design or access. We had to take it as it was. It has a huge benefit to the housing list.

“There’s nine houses with adapted bathrooms for people with disabilities, there’s public spaces. There’s a lot that is positive for Ardee. We support it. The residents would be better off talking to the planners.”

Old Dawson’s Demesne Jenny Burke spoke to ThisIsArdee.ie in April and said, “We reckon that the rate of pedestrians going through is going to increase by 300% – and that’s going by one parent and one child per household using the lane.”

“We have no footpaths in Old Dawsons – on either side. There are many parts of the lane that are narrow and will only allow one car to pass at a time,” she said, expressing her concern. “The lane is sub-standard because it’s not a roadway. Any engineer we have spoken to has agreed with us that it is sub-standard.”

The first phase of 29 homes are set to be occupied soon, with council officials saying earlier this month that the homes would be ready for occupation by the end of September. According to council officials, there is more housing construction activity in Mid-Louth than the any of the three Municipals this year. They feel that will help make significant inroads to the housing list in Mid-Louth in 2017.

Burke told us earlier in the year that Old Dawson’s residents did not have an issue with the building or the fact it was to be used for social housing. “We have no problem with the development. They could build 300 houses. It’s nothing to do with social housing. It could be social housing or it could be millionaire’s row – but people’s lives will be put in jeopardy.”

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