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Tuesday, 3rd December 2019

217 new houses but no new road for the extra traffic

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An architects drawing of the entrance to the proposed new development of 217 houses at the Newfoundwell Road. 

Northern Cross Port Access Route essential for future development of Drogheda

The consequences for the people of Drogheda of the repeated failure by the government to give Louth County Council the funding it needs to build the Northern Cross Port Access Route get more severe with each passing month.

To be fair to the County Council they have done as much as they can in preparation for the project which has been in the pipeline for almost 15 years.

But without the funding the road cannot be built and without the road the 3,500 homes that are included in the plan and are so badly needed, can’t be progressed either.

Yesterday the elected members of the Borough District of Drogheda were given details of a proposed development of 217 residential units (137 houses and 80 apartments) at the Newfoundwell Road adjacent to the Newtown Blues football grounds.

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During his presentation, Assistant Senior Executive Planner with the Council, Declan Conlon, went into some detail about the proposed development. He spoke about the crèche, the 364 car parking spaces, a landscaped open space which includes a trim trail, children’s playground and a basketball court.

He spoke about the consultations the Council has had with the likes of Irish Water, the Heritage Council, An Taisce, Córas Iompair Éireann, Transport Infrastructure Ireland and the Louth County Childcare Committee.

There was talk of a village green and cycle ways and footpaths and shops and road safety measures to discourage speeding in the development which will have eight or nine different house types all of which will be fully accessible for people with disabilities.

You’d imagine that in a town which, like many others around the country, has a big housing shortage, Councillors would be delighted. You’d normally expect reactions such as “Fantastic, we’ll have some of that thank you very much” to emanate from them.

But things are seldom that simple and the Drogheda Councillors were almost unanimous in their views which can be summed up as:

“Yes, we welcome the new houses but where’s the infrastructure to deal with the extra traffic?”

Labour Councilllor Michelle Hall had issues with some details of the design such as the main spine road of the development running alongside the full length of the football pitch but for her also, but her main problem was the extra traffic created and the lack of new infrastructure to deal with it.

Sinn Fein’s Tom Cunningham agreed that the Northern Cross Port Access Route was essential for Drogheda. He said that Beaulieu View was only in its early stages but already it was creating traffic problems.

James Byrne of Fianna Fáil said this was a classic case of putting the cart before the horse. He said that significant investment is needed for traffic calming on Newfoundwell Road already.

“We all want more housing but priority should be given to installing the essential infrastructure first” he said.

Fine Gael’s Councillor Eileen Tully had a different take on the issue. “We shouldn’t be too quick to stop housing development” she said.

“People are desperately looking for housing. Let’s work on improving the infrastructure to allow housing developments to happen.”

She went on to suggest that a roundabout be installed at the Termon Abbey/Termonfeckin Road junction to slow the traffic down.

This article was written by Andy Spearman

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