06 Jul 2022

Slieve Bloom private car park plan stalled by nature study

Slieve Bloom private car park  plan  stalled by nature study

Gridlock at Glenbarrow

A landowner who wants to open a private car park that could alleviate parking problems at Glenbarrow has to carry out a study on how it would impact the natural environment as part of the planning application.

Nicholas Dunne applied to Laois County Council last August for permission to locate an overflow car park beside the existing facility. Mr Dunne wants to operate on his lands at “busy times” over the weekends and on Bank Holiday Mondays.

The new parking area would be bigger than the existing facility but the exact number of spaces is not clear from the application.

In his application, Mr Dunne says the Glenbarrow eco walk and waterfall have become extremely popular in recent times resulting in large crowds.

“The current carpark is unable to cater for the volume of traffic, as a result, visitors are parking on Glenbarrow lane creating serious congestion with driveways, field entrances, overtaking bays and parts of the road blocked.

“This poses a serious health and safety issue in the area and on more than one occasion, emergency services have been unable to access the trail head following an accident,” he says.

The council informed Mr Dunne last October that it needed further information before it could process the application. It wants a Natura Impact Statement of the development.

The council also wants a detailed layout plan partly because it contends that the project “would result in the loss of existing car parking spaces”. It also wants to know if people would have to pay to park.

The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has also made a submission to the council.

It says that the proposed car park is located in Special Areas of Conservation and Special Protection Areas. It requested Laois County Council to assess the impact downstream in the Barrow and Nore catchments.

It says silt traps and hydrocarbon interceptors to mitigate any potential harm.

The Department also says the hedgerows around the site should be maintained.

Cllr Conor Bergin made a written submission in support of the project.

Cllr Paddy Bracken sought an update last week at a Municipal District meeting for the area.

“It's going through the planning stages, there’s no decision made on it yet,” said Edmond Kenny, Laois County Council engineer.

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