A 218-house development at Duckspool, Dungarvan has been granted planning permission - despite a wealth of objections and a recommendation of refusal from Waterford City & County Council to the proposal.
The applicant, KPMG Future Analytics - on behalf of Mr. Michael Ryan, lodged the development with An Bord Pleanala on July 7th last.
They are seeking to build 176 houses and 42 apartments, along with a creche and associated site works. Some of the units proposed for the development are 4 storeys high and there are plans for over 400 car parking spaces.
Adjacent to St. Augustine’s College & Scoil Garbháin schools, the lands in question are known to be partial to flooding and are home to various animal species such as brent geese and bats.
Local residents have ecological concerns and believe any development would be far too large for the area.
Founder of the Duckspool Community Group - which has 936 members, Neil Renton, says they are shocked with the decision.
"Everyone is just in shock, to be honest. We can't believe the fact that the board has granted permission for the development. Just shock. One of the key things is that the board don't believe that there is any significant environmental impact from the development on the area or the surrounding sites. That seems unbelievable. Everybody is in real shock."
The residents group are now pooling together to decide the next course of action, with the matter likely to end up in a judicial review.
Neil says the way that judicial reviews have been bounced around is largely the reason that the Strategic Housing Development process will soon be abandoned by government.
The area is also along a secondary road to the N25 which often experiences significant volumes of traffic at school collection times, and the junction off the N25 toward the development often experiences traffic build-up.
Speaking on Deise Today during the public consultation process, Secretary of the Tournore Court Residents Association, Lisa Cunningham said the project is not in keeping with the landscape of the local area.
“There are real concerns here. The ground is a swamp. It’s very marshy and it’s an ecological breeding ground. In Tournore Court, we can barely use the green and we have out the back shoes on account of how wet our gardens can get. This is not suitable for building at all at the moment. Residents here have had trouble getting flood insurance and the lands here are part of the drainage system. Waterford City & County Council have a new development plan which is running from 2022-2028 and the area in question is being rezoned as a conservation amenity or buffer space. From next year on, it won’t be allowed to be built on - so it seems to us that they’re trying to get the planning in before that becomes the case.”
At that time, many residents were also of the opinion that local councillors were reluctant to speak out against the development as they did not want to be seen to oppose housing developments in Dungarvan in the middle of a housing crisis.
“There is a shortage of housing in Dungarvan. We can understand the need for housing but this land isn’t suitable for it. It’s too wet. The proposal is over 35 units per hectare, which is a high density zoning which doesn’t match in with the low to medium zoning in the area.”
However, some councillors have since spoken out against the proposed development. A number of councillors have told WLR of their surprise at the granting of planning permission for the development, and say they eagerly await to see where the process goes next.