Council Update – November 2020

Cllr Stephen Mckee – November 2020 Meath County Council update

Proposed New Development At Colpe

At our October Council meeting, we were presented with a planning proposal by Shannon Homes for the development of 357 new homes on lands between Grange Rath and the Mill Road. This application is classed as a Strategic Housing Development so it has gone straight to An Bord Pleanála for decision. It is due to be decided by January 06th 2021.

The development has the potential to take a lot of traffic off the Mill Road due to a link road being part of the overall proposal which would be very welcome. The proposal also includes the provision of footpaths and cycle ways to Grange Rath and upgrades to the Colpe Road. I have been lobbying hard for safe footpaths and cycle lanes from Southgate down to Donacarney so this would be a positive step in the right direction for road safety in the area.

I have highlighted some issues however including; concern locally regarding the capacity of local schools to meet the needs of additional families in the area; the need to further improve public transport in the locality and the inclusion of a pedestrian walkway and bridge over the railway line into Grange Rath which I am opposing on behalf of local residents. I am also actively working to ensure residents of Mill Road can link into any new sewerage scheme if they so wish.

I have also emphasised the need that the provision of a playground be included as part of any planning conditions, as a playground is badly needed in the South Drogheda/Colpe area. A safe pedestrian and cycle link to the proposed Boyne Greenway to facilitate all residents in the Colpe/Dublin Road area should also be included in the plans. We need to support the creation of sustainable communities in the area with the development of residential lands going hand-in-hand with the provision of high-quality social and physical infrastructure.

This development proposal highlights the need for the Joint Urban Area Plan for South Drogheda/East Meath to be put in place as soon as possible to ensure that we have a coherent strategy to maximise the potential of the area and to promote co-ordination between both Louth and Meath County Councils. I continue to highlight the importance of a joined-up strategy for the benefit of residents.

Proposed New Library & Community Building For Bettystown

Public Consultation has now closed on the proposed new seafront Library & Community Building in Bettystown. The facility is proposed to open in 2022. A final decision will soon be made.

If approved, the 700 square metre Library will include a community meeting room, public library areas, meetings rooms, study and multi-purpose rooms, a lifeguard station and public toilets. The facility will also have disability changing space and will accommodate beach wheelchairs with ramp access onto the beach. The building is planned to accommodate local civic, community and cultural events and will be a very important addition to the area.

As part of it, I have proposed that a business hub be included in the plans for the building.The new facility has the potential to not only be a place for community use but also as a base for local people in business who wish to avail of broadband, meet like-minded individuals and share ideas and support one another. I have already raised this point at Council level. With more and more people able and wishing to work from home, we need to do all we can to provide opportunities for local people to work locally. I would like to see space provided to start-ups and local SME’s to help such businesses start, scale and expand. There is opportunity to do something very creative with the new building.

I am also aware of some issues that local people have raised with me, including car parking and I have raised those concerns also in my own submission. Feel free to contact me if you wish to discuss any aspect of the project.

Parking On Bettystown Beach

Meath County Council have confirmed to me that the issue of beach parking will be discussed at the next full Council meeting in November.

My own view is that although it has been fantastic to be able to enjoy a car-free beach over the last 6 months or so, the Council ban on parking on Bettystown beach is flawed as suitable alternative parking is not currently in place. This was a pre-requisite as agreed in the Beach Management Plan adopted by Meath County Council.

I recently highlighted at our Area Council meeting that the proposed arrangement for parking at Colaiste na hInse would not work due to its distance from the beach and the inconvenience, particularly for families with young children with buggies etc, and also for the elderly and those with disabilities. This has proven to be the case. Unfortunately, cars have continued to line both sides of the road up the Golf Links round and in and around Bettystown Square on busy beach days creating a serious road safety issue and a great nuisance for local residents. Signage is poor and both senior citizens and those with special needs and disabilities are not being properly looked after. There are similar parking problems up at The Crook, Mornington. The situation is not sustainable and needs to be sorted well in advance of next Summer.

To resolve the issues to the satisfaction of all, I have proposed the following to Meath County Council:

  1. That the Council retain a section of the beach to the right on entering Bettystown beach at Seaview for age friendly and disabled parking. I fully support the availability of age friendly and disabled parking on the beach.
  2. That the Council develop the strip of land between the barber’s shop and the Convent on the Golf Links Road as the best possible site for beach-front parking onto Bettystown beach giving residents direct access from their cars to the sand. I have suggested that this area could also be used for parking for the new Library. The footpath already there would make it easily accessible. I have also asked the Council to install boardwalks and public lighting to help solve at the same time the ongoing littering and anti-social behaviour problems at this location.

Boyne Greenway

Meath County Council submitted their plan for the new Boyne Greenway pedestrian and cycleway from Drogheda – Mornington to An Bord Pleanála. A final decision is due by January 25th 2021.

I fully support the project and the potential it has as an important local recreational and tourist route. It is important too that the project commands the support of those who live along its route and who will be directly impacted by it. In my own submission, I have raised concerns on behalf of residents along Tower Road & Mornington Court about them losing parts of their front gardens and boundary walls amongst other issues and I have asked that changes be made to the plans accordingly.

Road Safety On The Garra Road / Colpe Road

Following another accident on the Garra Road between Donacarney and Mornington, I have asked Meath County Council to urgently review the speed limit all along the road and to put in place additional road safety signage as necessary. I have also asked that road safety be prioritised on the Colpe Road as it is currently extremely dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists going to and from local schools. I expect action to be taken on both roads.

Solar Farm Proposal For East Meath

I recently lodged an objection to the vast new solar farm proposal for the Piltown/Julianstown area on behalf of many local residents who are very concerned about the impact this development would have on their quality of life. I was the only local Public Representative to make a submission on this significant application.

I recognise the importance of developing sustainable and renewable energy schemes in Ireland into the future to meet our international commitments and to ensure a sustainable environment for future generations. Nevertheless, I believe that the site in question is neither suitable nor appropriate for a large-scale industrial-type development. A decision is due imminently on the application.

Further Information

You can call, text or WhatsApp me directly on 086 0432760 or should you prefer, email me at stephenmckeeff@gmail.com or through Facebook at Cllr Stephen McKee. I am able to provide all State documents/applications via email and WhatsApp. Take care and stay safe, Stephen.

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