MORE than two years after the plan for the Adare by-pass was submitted to An Bord Pleanala, Limerick County Council is still waiting for a decision.
“We would be anxious to get a decision, and we would like a favourable decision,” Paul Crowe, director of transportation said this week. However, he added: “But any decision would be preferable at this stage.”
The Adare by-pass plan was submitted in March 2010 at the same time as plans for a motorway from Limerick to Cork, the M20, were also lodged. An oral hearing, lasting a fortnight, was held in Charleville in July of the same year.
However, the M20 proposal was just one of a number of road projects which were jettisoned due to a shortage of money in 2011.
“Cork County Council was the lead council on that project and they were instructed by the National Roads Authority to withdraw the plan from An Bord Pleanala, which they did,” Mr Crowe explained. However, he stressed, no such instruction was received by Limerick County Council regarding the Adare by-pass. “We wrote to the board to remind them that the Adare by-pass was a stand-alone project and that while Cork County Council had withdrawn the M20 project, we were not withdrawing the by-pass. That is where it is since.”
Mr Crowe acknowledged however that no funds had been earmarked either by the council or by the NRA to proceed with the Adare by-pass. “That is a completely separate challenge,” he said.
Meanwhile, Fine Gael TD Patrick O’Donovan has demanded that An Bord Pleanála make its decision. He told the Limerick Leader this week that he had contacted the board about the matter on a number of occasions in recent months but they were unable to give him a date as to when a decision could be expected. The inspector’s report has been drawn up, he said, and it only remains for the board to make its decision.
But he argued that a decision was urgently needed as the continuing delay was having an adverse effect on local landowners who wanted to apply for planning permission. “Much of the land in the close vicinity of the proposed route is sterilised for planning purposes until such a time as a decision has been made by An Bord Pleanala,” he pointed out. .
“I can understand their frustration when they hear that since March 2010, a hearing has taken place and a report prepared but no decision has been made. This not only affects those hoping to apply for planning permission in the area but also the Government. If no decision has been made, the Department of Transport cannot start planning to allocate funding for such a project.
“It would be for the benefit of a lot of people if this decision were to be made sooner rather than later. For that reason I will continue to impress upon the Board the importance of a decision being made in the near future on the Adare bypass,” he added.