The reasoning behind a decision by An Bord Pleanála to scupper a 78-home development will prevent any growth of the town of Virginia for the foreseeable future, writes Thomas Lyons.
“Virginia is at a stand still now. There will be no new building in Virginia until this is addressed. Any plans for the development of the town are going to have to stop. Business will suffer until this is done, and there is hearsay that this will not happen until 2021,” said Fintan Cahill whose auctioneering and estate agency in Virginia is one of the businesses that will be impacted by this decision.
The proposed housing development of 78 houses was approved by the local authority last June. However, that was overturned by the planning appeals board on Monday. The decision effectively halts future growth of the town until its water infrastructure improves.
Cavan County Council's planning department granted permission for the expansion by Murmod Estimators Ltd of The Drumlins, Bailieborough Road, Virginia, five months ago. However, An Bord Pleanála upheld an appeal by Inland Fisheries Ireland against the proposed houses.
The construction of the new homes will now not go ahead. Mr Cahill says that the planning department's decision is bad news for the town: “The Drumlins is only one development. There are three others that now have to shelve their plans until Irish Water puts their hands in their pockets. At present those pockets are empty.”
The development was to connect to the Virginia Wastewater Treatment Plant, which, in turn, discharges into Lough Ramor.
An Bord Pleanála identified the problems as “the existing constraints at the Virginia Wastewater Treatment Plant, which is currently operating beyond its design capacity of 2,000 and the lack of certainty in respect of future capacity improvements to the Wastewater Treatment Plant”.
Previously a spokesperson for Irish Water, Toni Bourke, told The Anglo-Celt: “The Virginia Wastewater Treatment Plant is on Irish Water’s current capital investment plan for upgrade works. These works are at the preliminary design stage. Once budget has been approved and full details of the proposed works finalised, Irish Water will issue a press release to the local media and engage with local elected representatives to update them on the full scope of the project.”
Fintan Cahill says that one of the developers has approached Irish Water offering to build the treatment plant. He said that the ball is firmly in Irish Water's court: “Cavan County Council have been more than helpful on this matter. They have done as much as they can do.”
The auctioneer says that the decision directly effects home buyers: “We are a commuter town. The Drumlins was ideal. Rent in Dublin would buy a house in Virginia. We have a client base that is primarily working in Dublin. They will now be looking to Navan and Dunshaughlin and other towns.”
Work on The Drumlins commenced in 2014 by Bradmur Homes. The December 2016 application sought to have the development completed in four phases. The company, Murmod Estimators Ltd, has directors listed as Eamonn McDonnell and Elaine Cotter. It was incorporated in February 2014 and is located in Virginia.