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Ballina work causes traffic chaos

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Ballina work causes traffic chaos

Áine Ryan

A NEW TRAFFIC plan to facilitate the ongoing development of a hotel at Ballina’s historic Ice House will cause chaos for commuters and residents over the coming year, according to Independent TD, Dr Jerry Cowley.
Chairman  of the Concerned Quay Residents’ Association, Cllr Willlie Nolan, has also strongly criticised the issuing of a ten-month hoarding license to the developer.
The plan has entailed the erection of hoarding down the middle of the narrow road leading to the Quay village, thus reducing traffic to a single lane, with the use of traffic lights on either end of the constriction. 
In November 2005, An Bord Pleanála rejected the recommendation of one of its inspectors to refuse planning permission to develop a 25-bedroom hotel at the historic Ice House, built in 1836 and once home to the Moy Fishery managers. There had been a total of seven appeals lodged with the planning authority.
An Taisce had originally objected to the development on the grounds that the project was insensitive to the ‘protected structure’ status of the building in terms of ‘scale and design’. The Quay Concerned Residents’ Association had submitted their concerns regarding traffic, noise pollution, pedestrian safety and invasion of privacy.  
“I don’t know how they got planning permission for this project in the first place. Now this increased activity around the site is causing chaos, by all accounts,” said Dr Cowley.
He claimed it is yet another example of a project being imposed ‘against the will’ and ‘without the consent’ of local people.
Dr Cowley argued that planning monitoring committees should be statutorily instituted to effectively police all planning decisions.
Cllr Willie Nolan told The Mayo News that local residents were being ‘very inconvenienced’ by the hoarding and were also being prohibited from accessing their houses due to double-yellow lines facilitating the development. He alleged that residents had been led to understand that ‘all the site work would be done onshore’.
“We were neither informed of the erection of the hoarding down the middle of the road nor of the installation of a double yellow line on the right hand side of the Quay village road. How can elderly people bring in a bag of coal to  their houses or an oil truck stop to deliver fuel now,” said Cllr Nolan.
He said that a Council official had committed to address the double-yellow line issue.
Council Senior Engineer, Mr Noel Burke, said Dr Cowley’s charge of ‘traffic chaos’ was ‘emotive’ language.  He insisted to The Mayo News that, according to the terms of the license, each individual  householder would be issued with individual signals relaying the traffic lighting system.
“Regarding the double yellow lines, they are an intrinsic part of the overall temporary traffic plan. They are meant to keep traffic flowing and stop obstructions and will not stop people accessing their homes. We are, however, currently reviewing their parameters,” he said.