BIG READ: Council seeks legal advice over access between two major estates in Carlow

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Darren Hassett

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Darren Hassett

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Carlow County Council is seeking legal advice over pedestrian access between two major estates in Carlow Town.

The issue over a pedestrian entrance between Sandhills housing estate in Carlow Town and Brownshill Wood has been described as "very complex" by a senior executive officer at the Council. 

Eamonn Brophy updated members on the matter at the November meeting of Carlow Municipal District. 

He said it is required in the planning permission for Sandhills estate that there be a pedestrian entrance between it and Brownshill Wood.

However, a motion in 2014 by Carlow Town Council - which called for the pedestrian access to be temporarily closed until Brownshill Wood was taken in charge by the local authority - was passed. 

Cllr Tom O'Neill confirmed that the access is currently blocked up and "most residents who contacted me in Sandhills want it left that way".

"They are concerned it will be opened up again," he added. 

The matter is further complicated because where the pedestrian access is currently, is not where it should have been per the original planning permission granted. 

"The pedestrian entrance where it was originally proposed in the planning isn't ideal. 

"The question is whether or not the pedestrian entrance is required to be left open or not," Mr Brophy said. 

He told members it came down to whether the planning condition for the pedestrian access trumps the members' resolution back in 2014 to temporarily block it up.

Mr Brophy said he hoped to have the legal advice by December or in the New Year. 

Cllr Fergal Browne said the Council "won't know were they stand legally until they go to court".

He added: "Legal advice, and no disrespect to the people giving the legal advice, is only an opinion."

Cllr John Cassin asked if there was anybody quicker that they could get legal advice from but Council officials then gave a commitment to have the legal advice before members at the December meeting of the MD. 

At the October meeting of the MD, Cllr Tom O'Neill, said there was huge concern about the issue and that the wall would be taken away. 

"When it was gone for two months, there were huge issues of anti-social behaviour," he said. 

Cllr Andrea Dalton said that members needed to be sure that whatever they do is "legal". 

Mr Brophy said the Council would review it to see whether the pedestrian access should be "closed, open or restored to where it was originally intended".

"It is supposed to be fifteen metres to the east," he said at the October meeting.