Monday 29 September 2008

Group challenges Meath council’s area plan

Seventeen developers and landowners in Meath will lodge a joint submission tomorrow urging the local council to revise a controversial area development plan.

All members of the group - who own an estimated 300 acres in the area - have an interest in what are known as the Bryanstown lands.

Those lands had been earmarked for possible development in a major regional planning strategy.

The recent plan, however, reversed that earlier decision. The new plan has also earmarked lands for fast-track development which were previously designated for long-term development.

A number of serious allegations regarding the way in which the planning authority has operated were made to the Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, and minister of state Dick Roche.

Dublin developer Bill Doyle has threatened to take a High Court action over the affair, and Roche wrote to environment minister John Gormley urging him to instigate a probe.

In his letter, Roche said that the proposals which the council came up with clearly disadvantaged some land owners in the area.

Roche, a former environment minister, accused the council of behaving in an ‘‘inexplicable’’ fashion.

The future of Drogheda United FC may also hinge on the final decision.

The club’s management had finalised plans with property developer Bill Doyle, who was to build a new €35 million, 10,000-seater stadium on a site in Bryanstown, in exchange for the club’s existing stadium at United Park.

However, those plans and the proposal to build a link road through the area will be scuppered by the proposed South Drogheda Environs local area plan, which zoned a sizeable part of the Bryanstown area for open space and light industrial use.

Drogheda United, Doyle and a number of Bryanstown landowners claim they were given repeated assurances by the council that it supported the proposed stadium and the rezoning the lands for residential use.

‘‘It was on that basis that we paid €120,000 for the preparation of an area action plan,” said one landowner. ‘‘That was done in consultation with the council in 2003,yetwe have faced continuous obstacles.”

Sunday Business Post

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