THE LATEST date for submissions on the contentious Limerick Northern Distributor Road was last Friday.
Since the conclusion of the route selection process in September 2012, Clare and Limerick City and County Councils have undertaken a series of environmental assessments as part of the subsequent stage - the incorporation of the proposed route into the land-use plans of both authorities.
The Lisnagry-Annacotty Action Group has been vehemently opposed to the proposed route from day one and again made a submission last week saying, “We do not accept your justification test for routing a road through a flood plain, claiming there is no other viable alternative.”
The route corridor for phase 2 extends from Knockalisheen, crosses the Shannon, Blackwater and Tailrace as it winds through Parteen and Clonlara before linking up with the old Dublin Road. The action group says the road will cut straight through Mountshannon Road, Lisnagry. It will do untold damage to a small semi-rural community and reduce the viability of a number of farms, they say.
“Therefore rather than creating accessibility and integration, it will have the reverse impact on the community.”
Around 100 houses are located on the road. The group objects to the route on environmental, economic and social grounds and says there are huge advantages in taking a different route.
In Clare, the Northern Distributor Concerned Residents say it will divide the community of Parteen in two and aggravate flood risk in Clonlara.
Since 2012 Clare County Council has prepared a proposed variation to the Clare County Development Plan 2011-2017 and the South Clare Local Area Plan 2012-2018, to incorporate both the proposed safeguard and an access to UL from County Clare.
These proposed variations have been the subject of the current phase of public consultation, under the Planning Acts, a process which ended on Friday, May 22 said Brian McCarthy, senior executive planner, Clare County Council.
“Following the receipt of submissions, a chief executive’s report on all submissions received will be prepared and forwarded to the elected members of Clare County Council. Over the next few weeks the elected members will consider the report and the proper planning and sustainable development of County Clare.
“Following their consideration, it is anticipated that in July the members of Clare County Council will vote on the incorporation of the preferred route into the development plan policy,” said Mr McCarthy.
A similar process is occurring simultaneously with Limerick City and County Council.
“Following the decision by the members of Clare and Limerick County Councils on the inclusion of the route into the development plan, preliminary design of the proposed Limerick Northern Distributor Road will commence together with the preparation of an environmental impact statement.
“Once completed, the approval of the Department of Transport will be sought to facilitate submission of the formal planning application for the project to An Bord Pleanála. The timing of this depends on the availability of funding from central Government,” concluded Mr McCarthy.
The Lisnagry-Annacotty Action Group says in the council’s documents and amendments “you have acknowledged that there will be substantial and foreseeable noise pollution and flooding risk to Mountshannon and Lisnagry residents”.
“You claim that there is no other viable option and that this particular road is necessary. We find this highly disputable in the light of the continued underutilisation of the Limerick tunnel, resulting in financial losses covered by taxpayers’ money,” the group says. Clare councillor Cathal Crowe says he will be voting against the route line. In a lengthy submission he said: “The proposed route for the Northern Distributor Road is very offensive to the communities I represent.”