AN Bord Pleanala will not be holding any oral hearings into the massive 324 unit residential development, which has been proposed in Williamstown by Kieran Wallace, a receiver acting on behalf of Cone Pine Properties Limited.
The development, which received 51 submissions from a mixture of residents groups, individuals and local councillors, has angered those living nearby because of its sheer size. The plan includes 11 high rise apartment blocks, 95 four-bedroomed houses, 116 three-bedroomed houses, 17 two-bedroomed houses, a crèche, and 657 car parking spaces.
Last week, An Bord Pleanala wrote to those who had requested an oral hearing to say that they have decided that “none will be held in this instance”.
In deciding not to hold oral hearings, they first told each applicant that “An Bord Pleanala may in its absolute discretion hold an oral hearing”. They cited two main reasons:
(i)That the Bord “shall have regard to the exceptional circumstances requiring urgent delivery of housing as set out in the action plan for Housing and Homelessness” and (ii) The Board shall only hold an oral hearing if it decides, having regard to the particular circumstances of the application, that there is a compelling case for such a hearing.
Donal O’Brien, who lives in the Paddocks and whose house will be darkened by one of the high rise apartment blocks, said that the decision “made no sense”.
“Like all the other residents in Williamstown, we understand and appreciate the urgent need for housing,” Mr O’Brien said. “However, it’s clear to just about everyone that the area is not, infrastructurally, prepared for such a massive development. The Dunmore Road is bumper to bumper as it is, and now we’re going to have a situation where firstly, there will be dozens of HGVs going through the area during the build, and then the addition of over 600 extra vehicles. The community deserved the opportunity to have their say in an oral hearing and to turn that down, just because housing is needed, is nonsensical.”
The decision from An Bord Pleanala comes off the back of the news that Waterford City & County Council CEO Michael Walsh, recommended to the board that the development get planning approval, with just a few small recommendations. A decision is expected on the development by May 28.