BIG READ: 'Blanket ban' in Carlow on houses near to national roads putting 'lives on hold'

Cllr Fergal Browne has said

Carlow Carlow Carlow

'Very problematic...'

A "blanket ban" in Carlow for housing developments on regional roads but which would be in close proximity to national routes is putting "lives on hold", Cllr Fergal Browne has said. 

He was speaking at this month's full meeting of the local authority when he highlighted an issue that has raised its head before. 

Councillors previously hailed a planning stipulation around access to properties near national primary roads as the "last nail in the coffin" of rural Carlow. 

Under Transport Infrastructure Ireland's Spatial Planning and National Roads - which are guidelines for local authorities -they state: "The creation of new accesses to and intensification of existing accesses to national roads gives rise to the generation of additional turning movements that introduce additional safety risks to road users.

"Therefore, from a road safety perspective, planning authorities, the NRA, road authorities and the Road Safety Authority must guard against a proliferation of roadside developments accessing national roads to which speed limits greater than
50-60km/h apply as part of the overall effort to reduce road fatalities and injuries.

"Development plans must include policies which seek to maintain and protect the safety, capacity and efficiency of national roads and associated junctions, avoiding the creation of new accesses and the intensification of existing accesses to national roads where a speed limit greater than 50 kmh applies.

"This provision applies to all categories of development, including individual houses in rural areas, regardless of the housing circumstances of the applicant."

Cllr Browne said the "blanket ban" on development on regional roads needed to be looked at in the county as it was proving to be "very problematic" and he is aware of three or four cases where people have been affected. 

Previously, Cllr Charlie Murphy brought up a matter at a Bagenalstown Municipal District meeting about housing planning applications around the N80 and N81 and he accepted that it was "nearly impossible to get direct access" for a new housing development to these national primary roads. 

However, he highlighted one case he was aware of where the applicant looked to build a house on a site adjacent to the N80 on a secondary road "which was about a mile away" from the N80 and the application was refused. 

The planning decision referred to a Transport Infrastructure Ireland rule which related to properties within a certain number of metres of a national primary road.

Cllr Browne said where a case can be made for cars using existing entrances on regional roads close to national primary roads then allowances should be permitted in the County Development Plan. 

He added that he was "aware of several people whose lives were on hold". 

A senior official of the Council's planning department said the stipulation was "national policy" but that she would review the issue and report back to the local representatives. 

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