FENAGH residents were left reeling this week after planning permission for 15 houses was granted despite an expert assessment that "planning permission be refused".
Tonight (Wednesday, November 21) they will meet to discuss why Carlow County Council's director of services overruled the planning official's decision and how they can appeal the granted application.
"The area is already overdeveloped. We've gone from a small village of 45 houses to over 200 being planned or built. Speaking to local schools they tell you that they would not be able to cope with another influx of students from new Fenagh residents," said Kevin Kennedy, chair of Fenagh Improvement Group who is puzzled as to why planning was given the go-ahead.
"There are not enough facilities and no provision has been made to build them. Social problems will arise from this if it goes ahead - but isn't an ounce of prevention now better than letting it happen and trying to find a cure in the future?
"We're reduced to holding our meetings in a pub because other facilities just don't exist."
Six lengthy objections to the construction were also made by local residents within the planner's report. "The development would be injurious to the village of Fenagh,"said one. "It is totally out of character with the existing village and its listed and protected structures," said another. "Currently there are no proper facilities for bus stops, road signs and pedestrian crossings," one objection stated.
But the county council granted planning this week, rejecting the executive planning advice, after an alternative way for planning to be granted was outlined by the director of services and accepted by the County Manager.
A spokesperson for the county council planning division said the executive planner was legitimately overruled by the director of services who could find ways to accept planning based on conditions.
"It is not uncommon for the director of services to overrule the executive planner. It happens more than once a year, and the director of services has that right, according to the Planning Act 2000, and found reason to do so," said the spokesperson.
"In this case the overruling was authorised by the County Manager."
Fenagh residents will meet tonight in the Hunter's Rest, Fenagh to discuss the implications of the planning and the possibility of approaching An Bord Pleanla.