Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Tramore residents go to war in planning row

RESIDENTS of a hugely scenic part of Tramore claim a big new estate of 155 houses planned for their area would be massively "out of character" there - and have opted to fight its planning permission with an appeal to An Bord Pleanála.

The controversial estate proposed by the Tramore-based McDonald brothers, attracted a whopping 86 objections to Waterford Co. Council but the county's planners have now come under fire for giving it the ‘thumbs up'.

RESIDENTS of a hugely scenic part of Tramore claim a big new housing estate planned for their area would be massively "out of character" there - and have opted to fight its planning permission with an appeal to An Bord Pleanála.

The controversial estate proposed by the Tramore-based McDonald brothers, attracted a whopping 86 objections to Waterford Co. Council but the county's planners have now come under fire for giving it the ‘thumbs up'.

Not alone do locals fear that some of the 155 new houses would "tower" over homes in Carrigeenlea and Newtown Glen but they claim the sewerage, water and drainage services in the area - never mind the roads - wouldn't be able to cope with up to 400 extra people.

"We were very surprised, and disappointed, that this estate got planning permission in view of the massive amount of objections put in by residents," a spokesperson for the Newtown Action Group told the Waterford News & Star this week.

"People had a lot of concerns that could have been partly addressed by the planning department in the conditions they imposed on the developers but that never happened."

"In view of this, we as a group representing a number of householders in the area, had no hesitation in lodging an appeal with An Bord Pleanála." "In addition to everything else, the schools in the area can barely cope as it is with the amount of pupils they have. The same is true of the various sports clubs and facilities - all are stretched."

The McDonald brothers, trading as Middlethird Estates Ltd., applied to the County Council back in September 2006 for permission to build 155 houses (two and three storeys in height) on a site at Newtown in Tramore.

They applied separately for permission to provide two apartment blocks on the site (for 26 apartments) and separately again for 26 social and affordable houses on a separate section of the land.

They were later refused permission for the apartments and are in the process now of appealing this to An Bord Pleanála. A decision, meanwhile, has yet to be reached on the social housing.

The plans by the local developers caused uproar in the Newtown area and a staggering 86 objections/submissions were subsequently lodged with the Council against the 155 houses in particular.

In addition to the Newtown Action Group - set up especially to fight the development - these came from a flurry of residents of the Carrigeenlea and Newtown Glen areas as well as the Carrigeenlea Residents Association, the owners of Newtown Cove Caravan Park and Tramore town councillor Blaise Hannigan.



33 CONDITIONS

To the anger of locals, the Council gave the 155 houses the ‘green light' subject to 33 conditions on August 20.

So far, appeals have been lodged with An Bord Pleanála by the Newtown Action Group and Patsy and Philippa Carney of ‘The Coachyard' while the developers themselves are appealing the conditions.

However, appeals will be accepted by the Dublin board for another two weeks so the possibility of more is likely. A final decision on the plans won't be made until December 18 at the earliest.

Speaking this week, Newtown Action Group's spokesperson said there were a lot of concerns in the area about the proposed development and while representatives of the Newtown group had met with the developers to voice these, they hadn't been addressed.

"The main issues are the density of what's proposed in an area where we feel they would be out of character.

The infrastructure also is not able to cope as it is. If you look at water pressure, to give just one example, people have electric showers here and the pressure is so low that the water barely more than trickles out."

"Some of the houses proposed are three storeys high as well and a lot of people living around the boundary of the site are very concerned about being overlooked."

"This is an area where there's a lot of detached houses and people feel this development would just be out of character."

Meanwhile, Tramore town councillor Blaise Hannigan said the worry was that a "concrete jungle" would be created in one of Tramore's most scenic areas.

"I just think it would go against the beauty of Newtown," he said.

Jennifer Long

© Waterford News and Star

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Eye on Tramore said...

Hmmm..there's a shock. More houses approved in Tramore. I'm surprised they haven't decided to knock down the Metal Man and stick a block of flats up there!