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Civic Trust raises concerns

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Civic Trust raises concerns

Michael Duffy

WESTPORT Civic Trust have said they are ‘in no way’ against the development of housing at Cloonmonad in The Quay area of the town and that their objection lodged with Westport Town Council against a housing development in the area is merely to address some major concerns they have with the project.
Ms Mary Muldoon, chairperson of the Civic Trust, said the trust had never objected to the development of the houses on this site, but they are concerned that the east-west orientation of the blocks proposed in the development could overshadow existing homes and create ‘the dreaded Malaga effect’.
“We are concerned that a precedent could be set if this development is given the go-ahead and we are hoping that the Council will take overviews into account. We are in no way against the development of housing in Westport but we want houses that can be lived in by the people of Westport,” said Ms Muldoon, who also expressed concern at the lack of shopping, transport, social or leisure infrastructure available to such a large development.
Ms Muldoon said that some of the fears expressed by the trust in its detailed objection may be allayed if a scale model of development was constructed on the site, which is being developed by Mr Tom Joyce.
The Cloonmonad area was also the subject of much controversy last year when an access road to the site in question was objected to by the trust, but was eventually granted permission.
In their objection to the 109-house development, the trust state they have nothing against ‘tasteful, medium-density family housing’ and they also point out that the Cloonmonad area has a ‘sensitive landscape’, rich in archaeological features.
The lengthy objection raises a total of eleven points, including the possibility of ‘serious traffic chaos in the general area at peak times’ because of the heavy and increasing commuter traffic on the West Road and Leenane Road.
In terms of the provision of social and affordable housing in the proposed complex, Westport Civic Trust have accused the developer of adopting a ‘cavalier approach to this most vital issue for our community’. While the developer has told the Town Council he will negotiate an acceptable agreement under his Part V obligations, the trust expressed concerns that the complex might not fulfil its potential in resolving the accommodation difficulties of young Westport families. The objection noted that many have been forced to move out of Westport because of the high cost of housing.
The Council are due to make a decision before March 20 but it is likely that they will seek further information in relation to the project.