Some of the 60 or so protestors at Termon Abbey on Saturday.
Once again members of a local community in Drogheda have come out in protest against plans for what they consider to be an excessively large and unsuitable housing development in their locality.
On Saturday last, residents from Termon Abbey, Beechwood Drive and An Rian mounted a peaceful protest against a planned development of apartments on a site adjoining the entrance to Termon Abbey and the Newfoundwell Road which is a notoriously difficult and dangerous junction.
Louth County Council had already granted planning permission for 14 house on the site and the residents were happy with that but now the developers, Patrick and Evelyn Nomayo, have sought permission to change the development to 43 apartments in five three-storey blocks.
“We want houses built on the land and proper homes for people” said a spokesperson for the residents. “Have we not learned from Ballymun creating run down eyesores in Drogheda which will bring problems to this area for generations?”
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“We have experience with the two storey apartments in Aston Village becoming run down with the apartments attracting a lot of antisocial behaviour. They are not maintained as maintenance fees are not paid by a lot of tenants and they are rapidly turning into uninhabitable dangerous slums. The fire alarms are already not maintained in the apartments.
“The existing infrastructure in this area is insufficient to support the planned development due to overcapacity” she said.
Referring to the already chaotic traffic experienced by residents in the area, the spokesperson said that at peak times it can take residents of the three existing estates up to 40 minutes to exit the estate (see below).
“The proposed exit for the apartments is facing the exit for An Rian and will cause traffic conflict. The addition of such a large volume of apartments would make our lives unbearable.”
“The plans have an added left turn will make little difference to the traffic leaving the estates onto Newtown Road as the majority of traffic turns right towards the town and the motorway.
“We do not agree that the trip rates from the apartments will be less than An Rian houses as some apartments are 3 bedroom and will have families living in them. The ones with single people will most likely have a car per person and this will cause as massive overspill of vehicles into An Rian and Beechwood Drive.
“Last but not least the development has plans to create a very dangerous foot traffic opening at the end of Beechwood Drive onto Newtown Road with no traffic lights.
“The children will take this opening to get to Newtown Blues and schools. Cars are notorious for speeding here and it is only a matter of time before one of our children is killed here. We want homes in the form of houses for families here, not hotspots for antisocial behaviour that could draw our teenagers in.”
Councillor Declan Power, who has been supporting the residents in their struggle, said that in his opinion this proposed development at the entrance to Termon Abbey is not a sensible housing development in terms of the design and character of the existing housing estates of Termon Abbey and Aston Village or nearby An Rian or Beaulieu Village.
“The proposed apartment blocks far exceed the height of the existing buildings, with the residents of Beechwood Drive affected the most by reduced sunlight and increased traffic volume.
“The apartment proposal doesn't have adequate parking spaces that, in essence, have the potential for parking in Beechwood Drive, which is tight enough as it is or worse on the spine road with significant traffic congestion in the mornings, especially during school hours.
“While the planning application includes housing and apartments, it is fair to say that nobody opposes or is anti-housing. All residents fully support the housing application submitted a few years ago that was awarded planning permission for up to 12 houses; in my opinion, this planning application could be almost stretched to at least 16 homes in this proposal and fit in with the aesthetics of existing buildings and providing adequate green space.
"Residents always knew that housing would eventually be built in this area. The message is clear to all the residents of Termon Abbey and Aston Village - Yes to housing but no to this apartment block proposal that they believe will cause many problems, especially with the lack of infrastructure and amenities, among other issues.
“We have a massive amount of zoned land in this area for housing developments, including blocks of apartments with no infringement on height, location, etc. The new frame of thought is to have all new building developments with an element of connectivity, meaning that owners would have a choice of entering and exiting housing estates to assist with traffic flow.”