250 new jobs expected for enterprise park
Councillors have approved plans which could see the creation of up to 250 new jobs in the north of the county.
At a special meeting held in recent days, elected members approved an application for funding, which would see the continued expansion of the industrial estate on the Cavan Road in Cootehill.
Cavan County Council is to submit an application for €600,000 under the Rural Regeneration Development Fund (RRDF), which would allow for works to extend the access road into the park.
At the meeting, councillors considered a report from assistant planner, Fintan Coffey, which outlined the plans and application. Part 8 planning approval was needed for the project, which was approved by councillors. The plans include the access road and five serviced sites.
The application does not include permission for any industrial buildings, which would be subject to separate applications as needs arise.
If constructed, the five sites have the potential to see approximately 250 jobs created in the industrial estate.
Derry Scanlan, senior executive engineer, said phase one included the provision of two serviced sites, with potential for 130 jobs.
“We need the access road to open potential,” he told those at the meeting, which was held online.
“There are a couple of businesses interested already.”
Local councillor Carmel Brady (FG) said the development is great news for Cootehill and said the town is “doing fantastically well”.
Fianna Fáil’s Aiden Fitzpatrick praised the work of the council in preparing the application for the Department of Rural and Community Development.
“Janey, it’s great you’re applying for funding. It’s great news. I hope the town gets it.”
Chair of the Bailieborough-Cootehill Municipal District, Cllr Paddy McDonald, also spoke in favour of the plans.
“If there’s a chance of getting 200 jobs, it’s great.”
The plans won the backing of all councillors, with the deadline for applications to the fund closing last Friday.
Director of Services for Planning, Community and Economic Development, Brendan Jennings, thanked councillors for their support of the plans.
“The businesses of Cootehill want to expand and grow in their own town,” he said. “Local businesses have bought into it.”
The road, extending to a length of 224 metres, would allow access further from the main road to allow for the development of the further sites. Street lighting and associated connections to services are also included.
The planner’s report refers to the draft County Development Plan, which classes Cootehill as a “self-sustaining town”. They are considered areas with high levels of population growth but need “targeted catch-up investment” to allow them to become more self-sustaining.
Two objections to the plans were received from local residents. They raised concerns over traffic and noise disturbance, impacts on property values and overspill from security lighting at the sites.
As this application only deals with the continuation of the service road, they also highlighted, among other issues, uncertainty about the types of businesses that could occupy any future premises developed along it.
The planner, Fintan Coffey, said current boundary treatments between the site and nearby homes are “not substantial” and urged their augmentation to ensure a more effective buffer.
He also recommended a restriction on the hours of construction but said concerns around any future development “are best addressed by the conditions of permission for those future site operators”.
He recommended 10 conditions be attached to the application. Councillors unanimously supported the proposal.
Phase one of the project saw funding of €910,000 in total granted under the RRDF programme in 2018.
Two units were granted planning permission on that stretch of road. One to Alpha Storage, which was approved for an industrial unit and offices and another to PQE Technology for a factory and offices.