RESIDENTS of Rockview Green in Portlaoise have written to Laois County Council expressing their outrage at plans to retain a road within the estate, which they claim is so unfit for purpose it renders people prisoners in their own homes during periods of icy weather.
In November last year, developers sought permission to retain an existing estate road link between Rockview Drive and Rockview Green on the Mountrath Road, with plans to vertically re-align the road to reduce the existing gradient. It is also proposed to widen the roadway to 6 metres, provide a new 2 metre footpath and provide a new 0.5 metre grass verge and all ancillary works.
However, strenuous objections to the plan have been lodged with the council from seven households in Rockview Green. They maintain that the road was constructed as a machinery road and was never intended as a permanent thoroughfare.
“The road is extremely dangerous as one cannot see over the crest of the hill until they have reached the summit,” write the residents.
They claim that the gradient is too steep and the roadway is misaligned, meaning that whenever a person reaches the summit they are actually standing in the middle of the road. They say this has increased the chance of traffic collisions, with near-misses witnessed in the area on a daily basis. They also feel that the proposal to reduce the gradient from 11 degrees to six would still leave a gradient too severe for a housing estate.
Safety concerns were also raised about the approach to the proposed roadway, which residents feel is extremely dangerous due to a severe bend and the presence of cars parked outside houses.
“When coming down the hill and trying to negotiate this bend in bad weather it is very dangerous. It is a very bad bend and becomes very slippery during bad weather,” they write.
They also say that when they were purchasing their houses, a promise was made for the construction of a new road which would allow them to access their homes. They point out that the current machinery road was never intended to be permanent, and that if the road was installed as per the original planning permission then it would make the estate much more attractive to potential purchasers and developers.
“Never in our wildest dreams did we foresee that we would have ended up living in a building site for the last 6 -7 years,” they said. “As residents of Rockview Green... we have become and are extremely isolated from the remainder of the estate. These proposals would not improve our living conditions in any significant manner.”
The residents ask the council to reject the application and “restore the road to where it was originally intended”.
A decision is due from the council at the end of January.