Saturday, 27 January 2007

Locals likely to appeal Dunlavin quarry decision

I had a call yesterday on this. This was a story the Wicklow People covered last week.

An appeal to An Bord Pleanala from residents of the Dunlavin area is likely following the news that a leading quarrying company has received planning permission for a 19-hectare (47-acre) quarry there.

On Tuesday, the planning office of Wicklow County Council granted planning permission for Kilsaran Concrete to quarry land at Ballyhurtin, Dunlavin, despite receiving 33 objections from concerned locals.

One of the objectors, Matthew Leith, runs a local bed and breakfast and is convinced that any quarry on his doorstep will kill off tourists visiting Rathsallagh House and the surrounding area. He is also baffled about the decision, considering how difficult it is for locals to get planning permission for one-off houses.

'My daughter has been looking into building a house quite near on a road not quite as bad as where this quarry will be situated,' he said.

'This has been ongoing for the past five years, yet the County Council and An Bord Pleanala have turned her down. It seems to be one rule for big companies and another for the ordinary local,' says a frustrated Mr. Leith.

The site will also necessitate the removal of an esker, a long narrow ridge of sand and gravel deposited by glacial meltwaters, which Mr. Leith further believes will completely change and ruin the local landscape.

'This will put us out of business,' says the downhearted bed and breakfast owner. 'The main industries here are bloodstock and tourism and I can't see how either will survive. The traffic on that particular road is already bad, especially around school time. I don't see how it can handle any more traffic.'

He and most of his neighbours have now vowed to take their objections to An Bord Pleanala, and have the support of the Dunlavin & District Forum as well as Deputy Billy Timmins.

According to the Fine Gael Deputy, 'the decision is a strange one, particularly considering people in the area are being turned down for one off housing due to the narrowness of the roads. Its also one of the scenic gems in the county.'

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