Eoghan Dalton Reports
THE Deputy CEO and Planning Director of Waterford City and County Council has hit out at An Bord Pleanála for refusing planning permission for housing, saying they contradicted themselves in their decision.
Lar Power told the plenary sitting of Waterford councillors that a development of 284 houses in Ballygunner had been refused after the Council had granted a planning application.
“Unfortunately that planning application was appealed to An Bord Pleanála, and unfortunately they overruled our decision, which I think was a retrograde step to be quite honest. To me they started to contradict themselves in the overruling – on the one hand they felt the density wasn’t high enough and on the other they felt it was overlooking,” Mr Power said.
Councillor Adam Wyse (FF) raised the issue at the meeting. He said the decision to overrule the application was disheartening.
“In a time where we have an extreme shortage of housing and supply, something like this in Ballgunner is desperately, desperately needed,” he said.
The company for the site is Jackie Greene Construction, a Dublin based developer. Lead architect is Niall Harrington, who is also the chief architect on the development of the North Quays. The houses were to come on-stream in 2019 but it is believed by the Council that this will now be pushed back to 2020 at the earliest.
Mr Power agreed with Cllr Wyse and said the Council and the developer are attempting to find a solution to satisfy the national planning body.
“I think Waterford city and county are in need of additional housing, and I think it’s very unfortunate that where we have land that is suitable and a developer with the wherewithal to do it, that An Bord Pleanála would make that decision,” he said.
Cllr Wyse told The Munster Express that the developer is “quite confident” construction will be able to go ahead. He said concerns about an unsteady rise in traffic in the area are misplaced, too. “I’ve looked for a lot of traffic calming in that area. When this was originally announced last year I had engineers from the Council do an analysis to see what sort of traffic issues we can expect. They came back and said there won’t be a traffic issue there until 2030. So I don’t think this extra housing will affect the roadways and traffic, it should be able to withstand it.”
He added: “Myself and Cllr Mary Roche have been asking for a number of years, for a park or residential area in these parts of Ballygunner. There was money supposed to be set aside for such a development but that money cannot be found for whatever reason. There was hope the Council could help with putting in those amenities if the housing can go ahead, and it’d be disappointing if that can’t happen.”