Milltown Road Latest Press ReleasePosted 07 Jul. 2017
On Monday at the Ashbourne Municipal District meeting, Councillors approved the latest draft plan for an area called the Milltown road. €1.06m has been ring fenced for the upgrade works which include new foot paths, cycle lanes, traffic tables, pedestrian crossings and other traffic calming measures that will improve the overall safety of residents, eliminate speeding problems on the road and improve the overall aesthetics of the road.
Over the last 40 years, the Milltown road has had varying degrees of residential development that wasn't really planned but rather a mishmash of single dwellings and small to medium sized housing estates. There have been two fatalities on the short piece of road. Ashbourne Councillor Alan Tobin has been trying to secure adequate funding to ensure that the road is upgraded to a safe level. For years, residents literally on one side of 1.5km stretch have had no footpath or safe place to walk. A new development of 100 houses, that is now near completion, has no footpath or safe pedestrian access point to the town centre. The new social housing estate Milltown Meadows, who welcomed their first residents last week, have no safe crossing point to walk or cycle to the town centre.
In its entirety, affected areas along the road number almost 300 dwellings or a population of 1000 people. Lighting is inadequate and at its narrowest point, part of the footpath to the Ashbourne Community school and Gaelscoil na Cille is just 700mm in width.
Councillor Tobin has been working with residents for a number of months looking at how best to improve the road. He first delivered a survey to all homes on the Milltown road as well as the older estates in the area, he included the Hawthorns, Pinewood Court and White Ash Park. Tobin explains: "I knew the concerns expressed by residents in the newly developed estates of Archerstown Demesne, Crenigáns Banog and Milltown Meadows. What struck me when talking to all residents and having collected about 60 of 140 surveys, was the numbers of residents concerned with speeding and lack of footpath space. Even more interesting was the number of problems at different points along the road. In one part it was parking, another it was a potential loss of green areas, public lighting in another, younger people were very concerned with kids crossing the road and travelling to school, while older people were concern with safety and the practicality of cycle lanes and shared surfaces with cyclists and pedestrians sharing pathways in some narrow areas. "
The scheme has now been approved by Councillors which means that it now goes through a planning process called Part 8.
Developments carried out by a Local Authority is often referred to as 'Part 8” development. This is reference to Part 8 of the Planning and Development Regulations 2001, which sets out the procedure for carrying out such developments. Such works would include developments such as the construction of houses, roads, swimming pools, public toilets etc.
Public consultation is a fundamental element of the 'Part 8' planning application process. This consultation procedure requires that notice of the proposed development be given in the public press and that a Site Notice be erected. If any submissions or observations are received, a report is presented to the Elected Members of the Council. This report contains a list of the persons or bodies who made submissions, a summary of the issues raised in these submissions and the Local Authority's response to these issues. Arising from consideration of the representations, the report sets out whether or not it is proposed to proceed as originally planned or to proceed with a modified proposal.
"This is a great opportunity for the residents in the area and for Ashbourne", Tobin said. "Since being elected in 2014, I've been looking at how we can retrofit areas that were neglected for years. Connectivity throughout the town is so important, especially when we are trying to encourage people to walk, run and cycle as part of a heathy lifestyle. Thankfully as budgetary restraints ease, Meath County Council can now invest in Ashbourne's future, making the area safe for families walking and cycling to school, to the shops or to the magnificent rugby, soccer, GAA and golfing facilities nearby".