Plan for 95-unit housing development approved
A plan for a 95-unit housing development on a site at Harbour road in Mullingar has been given the green light by members of Westmeath County Council. They agreed at the September meeting to contravene the Mullingar Local Area Plan (LAP) to allow the development to go ahead.
The recommendation from chief executive, Pat Gallagher, that the Mullingar LAP be contravened to allow Westmeath County Council to grant planning permission to Kelbuild Ltd was proposed by Cllr Mick Dollard and seconded by Cllr John Shaw. There was no counter-proposal.
Mr Gallagher told the meeting that no public submissions had been received by the Council during the four-week public consultation period on the proposed material contravention of the plan.
As part of their planning application, Kelbuild Ltd sought permission for a three-storey block of apartments; 43 duplex apartments, 36 semi-detached three- and four-bedroom houses and a crèche facility.
Access to the proposed development is to be provided by means of a new road.
A comprehensive report on the material contravention, which was circulated to members prior to last week’s meeting, contained a recommendation from the chief executive to members that the Mullingar Local Area Plan 2014-2020 be contravened, to allow the council to grant permission for the development.
The report stated that a material contravention would result in “a small loss of lands zoned open space” of 0.19 ha, but pointed out that the open space zoning attributed to those lands was “due to the absence of sufficient details in respect of flood risk and informed by the content of CFRAMS Study”.
It further states that the submitted application “clearly demonstrates” the hydrological model which determined the zoning “is incorporated within the storm water design”.
According to the circulated report, the principle of residential development on the subject lands “is established” under a previous planning application that was made in 2017, and that the proposed development by Kelbuild Ltd is “consistent with policy objectives set out at local level” apart from a section within the application site which is zoned as ‘open space’.
The proposed development was also found to be in accordance with council policy to support the principle of “sequential development”, whereby areas closer to the centre of the town “including under-utilised and brownfield sites” are chosen for development in the first instance in order to promote a sustainable pattern of development.
It was also found to be consistent with the council’s policy to require that appropriate provision is made for “amenity, public open space and social infrastructure”, according to the chief executive’s report, which further stated that it would allow for the development of residential development within the statutory plan boundary for Mullingar on lands that are serviced, without detracting from the amenities of the area.
The report also stated that the application site is zoned as ‘General Urban District’ and ‘Open Space’ within the Mullingar Local Area Plan.
Cllr Mick Dollard asked when councillors could expect to see new Urban Area Action Plans coming into force. “They are 18 months out of date at this stage,” he said.
Director of services, Barry Kehoe, said new plans for both Mullingar and Athlone are being worked on and he expected that they would be made available “as early as possible in 2023”.
The proposed development comprises 95 residential units, one three-storey block of apartments, one studio, four one-bed, nine two-bed and two three-bed (total 16 units), 43 duplex/apartments, (21 two-bed and 22 three-bed), 36 semi-detached (3/4 bed) units, a crèche facility (212 square metres), integrated perimeter and centralised communal open space areas totaling 6,788 square metres, 123 car parking spaces, 206 bicycle parking spaces.
The primary vehicular and pedestrian access to the proposed development will be provided from a new access road from the constructed primary care centre access road, associated residential estate roads.