Friday 22 August 2008

Housing scheme gets go-ahead despite flood risk

A field in Co Galway has been given the go-ahead as the site for a new development of 48 houses -- despite flooding concerns.

As householders around the country continue to count the cost of having their homes destroyed by flood waters, the decision by planners in the West to grant permission for the development has been slammed as 'daft'.

At the same time as Environment Minister John Gormley was signalling a ban on building on flood plains, during his visit to flood-hit Carlow on Monday a letter confirming the decision to grant planning permission for the scheme in Mountbellew was dropping through the door of James Mannion.

Mr Mannion had objected to the plan by developers, Newmarket Projects Ltd, to build 20 detached and 28 semi-detached units along with a waste water treatment plant and associated site works just off the Roscommon Road.

Mr Mannion and his family have lived alongside the site for the past 30 years and he lodged an objection to the proposed development, pointing out that the site was on a flood plain and was subject to flooding at any time of year.

Mr Mannion said: "The site is on the edge of a tributary of the River Shevin and, while it's very fine to grant permission now, what will happen in a couple of years to the people who bought houses there?"


In its application for the houses, Newmarket Projects Ltd, which is listed as c/o HDS Consultancy Services of Ballybrit, Galway, addresses the flooding concerns.

In its application assessment, the company states: "We submit that the site is on lands described as 'liable to flooding' on the 6" map of the area. However, the Hydrological Report in Appendix E clearly shows that flooding has not occurred at the site in at least 20 years

"Should flooding occur however, the proposed dwellings will be raised above the site to such an extent that any possible flooding will not affect them."

During his visit to Carlow, scene of some of the worst flooding in the country last weekend, Mr Gormley confirmed that new guidelines limiting development on flood plains would be put on the table within weeks.

In future, unless developers can prove flooding will not arise, planning applications for development will be refused.

However, a final decision on the Mountbellew plan will not be made until 32 days from the date of the initial decision.

Brian McDonald
Irish Independent

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