Tuesday 26 August 2008

Locals call for review of housing development after flooding

PEOPLE living in one of the worst affected areas of the Newcastle West floods are calling on Limerick County Council to review a decision to grant planning permission for a leading housing development for lands that were flooded.

A private developer was given permission to develop on the lands at Dromindeel.

A number of objectors unsuccessfully appealed the council’s decision to An Bord Pleanála.

Despite a recommendation from their own senior planning inspector that the development should be refused permission, An Bord Pleanála gave it the go-ahead.

The inspector, Brendan Wyse, in his report to An Bord Pleanála in June 2007 set out four reasons why it should be refused planning.

He stated: “Having regard to the submissions made in connection with the application and the appeal, the board is not satisfied that the issue of flood risk has been adequately addressed.”

In rejecting their own inspector’s recommendation, An Bord Pleanála said the development would not give rise to an increased risk of flooding.

As part of the planning permission, a condition is that the level of the land be raised. The land was badly affected in the August 1 floods when the River Arra burst its banks.

Local people say that it is now imperative for the council to review the planning in view of what happened.

Tom McCarthy, who was one of those who appealed the council’s decision to An Bord Pleanála, said they have drawn up a petition which has been signed by about 80 people.

He said: “We are sending this petition to the county council and the OPW for inclusion in their reports on the floods.”

He said the council should acquire the land by compulsory purchase order and turn it into a local park.

He said: “A report on flooding carried out by the OPW some years ago said a public park should be provided in this part of the town and this park could be used to act as a flood plain also in the event of flooding.”

Mr McCarthy said that if houses are developed on the lands, it will make the Dromindeel area of Newcastle West more vulnerable in the event of flooding of the River Arra.

He said it was a matter of urgency, given what happened on August 1, that the use of the lands be reviewed and a plan drawn up to secure it’s future use as an open space.

Meanwhile, the clean up is still continuing in Newcastle West and the local Lions Club have set up an account in the local branch of AIB to provide financial relief for those worst affected by the floods.

Limerick County Council have commenced work on a report on the flooding and are consulting with all those affected.

Irish Examiner


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