LIMERICK County Council is to re-examine alternative routes for a bypass in Adare, and remains committed to such a project.
But until a decision is made on how such a scheme can be moved on, land along the route turned down by An Bord Pleanala last year will remain sterilised for planning purposes.
Last October, An Bord Pleanala refused planning permission for the by-pass to the south of the village, the Blue Route, on the grounds that it was unsuitable, was an isolated development and would not improve journey times, safety or divert traffic from the town.
But last week, when Cllrs Pat Fitzgerald and Rose Brennan raised the matter again with Tom Enright, the council’s director of planning, Mr Enright explained that the council had been seeking clarification from An Bord Pleanala about its refusal.
When the refusal became public last October, there was dismay in Adare and all places further west, given the traffic bottlenecks that had become a regular feature of life in Adare, particularly at peak times and in summer. At the time also, Limerick County Council said it was disappointed by the decision but hoped some compromise could be reached.
“We need to consider the Bord’s decision with the National Roads Authority. We need to consider in detail the outcome of the Bord’s decision before we can come back with any proposal or recommendation,” Paul Crowe, director of transport told Adare area councilors at the time.
The council also sought clarification from the Bord as it considered the note which accompanied the refusal was open to various interpretations.
Last week, director of planning, Tom Enright explained that the Bord had now replied and the reply stated: “In light of the non-advancement of the M20 proposal (motorway from Limerick to Cork), as set out in the refusal reason, an opportunity might arise for alternative by-pass routes to be re-examined.”
The Bord continued: “In this regard, references in the note to localized issues on the Blue Route (the proposed route) are of secondary importance.”
Given this reply, the council is now considering how the by-pass scheme “might be moved forward”, Mr Enright said.
However, until a decision was made, he said that the inclusion in the County Development plan of an Adare by-pass on the south of Adare should remain – and that planning applications will be considered to be premature.
“Limerick County Council will continue to work with the National Roads Authority to secure commitment and funding to deliver a much needed by-pass for Adare,” Mr Enright declared.
A bypass in Adare was first considered about 20 years ago but it was 2005 and another report from Limerick County Council before the plan gathered pace. In 2009, however, following a review, the plan was changed and a southern route proposed to tie in with the now sidelined, M20 project and to comply with the regulations of the extended Special Area of Conservation.