Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Landowner sought after Travellers move onto site

OFFICIALS were last night trying to track down a developer who is believed to have allowed Travellers move onto a site at the centre of a bitter planning row.

Senior planning enforcement officers from Cork City Council also inspected the former Induchem site on the Boreenmanna Road as efforts to resolve the situation stepped up.

The Travellers moved onto the site last Thursday just days after residents lodged an appeal with An Bord Plean√°la against a planning application for the site.

The Freeland Partnership applied to the council last December for permission to level the former chemical storage site, and build a neighbourhood centre including apartments and shops.

Several objections were lodged but the project was finally given the green light, with conditions.

Residents appealed that decision to the board last week, however, delaying the project until January.

Within days, the Travellers who were originally camped in the Centre Park Road area of the city had moved on to the site. They said they have the permission of the landowner to be there.

Gardaí in Blackrock said the landowner has also confirmed to them that the Travellers have his permission to be on the site, rendering them powerless to act.

The man behind the Freeland Partnership, Carrigaline-based developer, Barry O’Donovan, who is understood to be abroad, could not be contacted for comment yesterday.

Green Party Councillor Chris O’Leary said the situation was “simply unacceptable”.

A spokesperson for the city’s planning department said they have yet to make contact with the landowner to establish the full facts of the situation.

“In a normal situation, if Travellers moved onto land illegally they could be moved on,” he said.

“But we don’t have the full information on the precise situation here yet.”

The appropriate action will be taken pending the outcome of their investigations, he said.

Irish Examiner

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