Mountmellick housing plan ‘futile’

Two major housing developments on Mountmellick’s outskirts have got the initial green light from county councillors.

Two major housing developments on Mountmellick’s outskirts have got the initial green light from county councillors.

Last Monday requests were granted by them for residential zoning on lands in Acragar and Debbicot, going against recommendations from the county manager Peter Carey to turn them down.

Mr Carey warned that the Debbicot development would not get planning permission.

“I fully accept the concept but this is a futile proposal. Under no circumstances will it be allowed to go through the system. It is outside the town boundaries. It is outside the speed zone. It’s going to cause major difficulties, the most important one is the flood risk. I have to say here, have we learned anything? We have seen it this year again, the sheer misery and suffering by people living in flood areas,” he said.

Cyril Morris from Mountmellick was requesting the residential 2 zoning on 6 hectares of his land in Debbicot. 30 eco friendly houses are planned on the site, designed by alternative architect Michael Rice, whose previous work includes Portlaoise Parish Centre.

Cllr Pat Bowe backed the development.

“This concept to develop eco friendly houses attracts a special clientele of business. It is a worthy and self supporting site. I accept it is outside the town limits but it is worthwhile,” he said.

Most of the site is in Flood Zone A, meaning a one in 100 year risk of flooding from the river Barrow which borders it. The councillors unanimously voted in favour of the rezoning.

Mountmellick builder PJ Kearns was seeking to rezone land in Acragar to residential use. 16 units are planned for the 2.9 hectares, near the ESB substation.

The council opposed this development on grounds that it was too far out from the town centre, and it was out of sequence with development in the town. Councillors again disagreed.

“This is a small development with its own sewerage pumping station, we should facilitate it,” said Cllr David Goodwin.

“This is a very credible man in the town, any development he has done is meticulous, He has the whole layout ready to go,” said Cllr Pat Bowe.

It was agreed that residential zoning be removed from unused land at Grange Hall and given instead to the two developments, keeping the town within the maximum zoning allowance of 33 hectares.