Louth County Council has told An Bord Pleanála that plans to build 26 apartments and retail units on land close to Dunleer train station would encourage the re-opening of the train station.
In a submission to the planning board, the council denied claims by An Taisce that the development by landowner Tony Mallon would mitigate against the station re-opening.
As part of the development Mr Mallon has agreed to build a new access road to the station. The council's executive planner, Emer O'Callaghan, said this through road is a vital piece of infrastructure that would be necessary should the railway station re-open.
An Taisce has also appealed a second planning permission granted by the council for Dunleer Co-Ownership to build a new town centre with 162 residential units on a landbank adjoining the train station lands, owned by CIÉ, and Mr Mallon's site. An Taisce wants a masterplan drawn up for the area around the station before any development takes place but Ms O'Callaghan told the board that this is not an objective of the local area plan adopted by the council.
Mr Mallon said that even if An Bord Pleanála should overturn permission for the Dunleer Co-Ownership development, the new access road to the station will go ahead.
"It will avoid the sort of bottleneck being experienced at Drogheda train station at the moment and will, I feel, give Dunleer an advantage over the proposed new Drogheda North station."
The population of Dunleer rose by 43 per cent between 2002 and 2006 due to its location beside the M1 motorway and higher house prices in Drogheda, forcing buyers further up the motorway.
The Irish Times