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Hill Street Blues / Council have no appetite to pursue Dundalk bridge removal

Tesco Extra in Dundalk
A view of Tesco Extra and Connolly's Field on Hill Street in Dundalk. Photo Credit: Google Maps.

The prospect of the removal of Hill Street bridge in Dundalk appears to be dead in the water after Louth County Council Chief Executive Joan Martin outlined her disinterest in pursuing the project to councillors this week.

The issue of Hill Street bridge and it’s removal was last raised at the Dundalk Municipal District back in January when councillors heard that the planning permission for the second phase of Tesco’s redevelopment of the old Dundalk Shopping Centre had expired – meaning a potential €1 million contribution towards the removal of the bridge from the supermarket giant would now not be forthcoming.

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On Monday, during the council’s Budget 2021 meeting, Green Party councillor Marianne Butler aired her displeasure that the removal of the bridge was now not being pursued.

“I’m very annoyed about it,” Cllr Butler said. “Hill Street bridge seems to be dropped again. I don’t understand why it would be dropped without any communication with councillors.

“We’re no longer getting a special contribution of €1 million from Tesco because Phase 2 is not going to happen.
I certainly think it is still a worthwhile project. It would open up a number of different options for that end of town.”

Cllr Butler proposed that the removal of Hill Street bridge be put back among the list of projects on the local authority’s three year Capital Programme 2021-2023.

However, Ms Martin was dismissive of the possibility of the project getting off the ground, especially since Tesco’s proposed €1 million contribution towards the project was taken off the table.

“I don’t see any prospect of that project commencing. Personally, I’m not convinced of the benefit of it. I constantly ask – what’s it for? I don’t see any prospect of it, particularly since we lost the prospect of a special contribution.

LOUTH COUNTY COUNCIL CAPITAL PROJECTS 2021-2023

Click below to see Louth County Council’s list of key capital spends in their 2021 Budget

“It would cost quite a few million and I don’t see how it is a priority at the moment,” she said. “I want to focus on projects that would have a transformative effect.

The CE cited Clanbrassil Street in the town and said that if she had money available to spend in Dundalk, it would go on the redevelopment of Bridge Street and Linenhall Street would be her priority. However, she did say she was open to revisiting it with her staff.

Additionally, earlier this year conditional planning permission was granted to Sprucetree Park Ltd to build 114 apartments and a commercial development consisting of two retail units, a medical centre and and office. at Connolly’s Field, the currently vacant parcel of land adjacent to the Tesco Extra supermarket.

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