By Suzanne Pender
Council urged to ‘rule with an iron fist’ when it comes to rigorous enforcement of planning laws, as concerns over the development of a huge warehouse in Tullow escalated last week.
Carlow Warehousing Ltd, owned by Ned Nolan, has received two enforcement orders from the Carlow Co Council, requiring the company to remove a mound of clay, known as a ‘berm’, which surrounds The Links subdivision in Tullow, as well as spiked railings. The council insists that the chosen “ berm ” and style of fence violate the building permit granted to Carlow Warehousing Ltd by An Bord Pleanála in October 2020.
The issue was raised by Cllr Brian O’Donoghue at last week’s Carlow Co Council online meeting, despite repeated attempts by the council executive to end the discussion. The executive insisted that a live planning issue could not be discussed or commented on, but Cllr O’Donoghue insisted that under the regulations members have the right to use their full five-minute speaking time to “raise an important issue”.
Cathaoirleach Tom O’Neill allowed discussion, but timed the allotted five minutes and then, on several occasions, when it had elapsed, attempted to end the statement prepared by Cllr O’Donoghue on the matter. Undeterred, continued Cllr O’Donoghue.
Cllr O’Donoghue called on the council executive to fully accept that law enforcement is an essential part of the planning process and to confirm that they will continue to enforce the law “no matter who or what”. He then described at length the background to Carlow Warehousing Ltd’s request to plan the construction of an almost 33,000 square meter warehouse in Tullowbeg, Tullow.
The warehouse will serve as a storage unit for international retailer Smyths Toys, promising 100 jobs and additional jobs during the construction phase.
Cllr O’Donoghue said from the start he had concerns about the development and that “this monstrosity was being pushed down our throats”. He stated his belief that the residents of The Links, Tullow have been “sold a puppy” and spoke passionately about the situation they now face with that “horrible” fence and the berm directly behind their homes.
Cllr O’Donoghue said residents were not opposed to the jobs the development would bring, but were adamant that the two enforcement orders issued by the council “must be followed”.
He urged a strong and united council approach that this “will not be tolerated” and stressed that council officials must “rule with an iron fist”. Cllr O’Donoghue also urged the developer to remove the fence and fully comply with the app and asked all board members with a direct line of communication with the developer to “urge them to comply. “.
Director of Services Michael Rainey said he could confirm execution was a critical function of the planning process, but added that it was “neither possible nor appropriate to speak to an issue when a notice has been served ”.
Cllr Charlie Murphy said he was not asking for any input from the board executive, but that “things were in the public domain”. He added that there had “not yet been a boulder on a boulder and there already appear to be two planning failures.” Cllr Murphy reflected that, in her opinion, it now seemed that “the Council of Carlow Co should condemn this request up front”.
Mr Rainey, clearly uncomfortable, reiterated that members “really shouldn’t be discussing this at all”.
Cllr John McDonald then confirmed that “there is an open line of communication with the developer,” adding, “Let us do our job, if possible.”
Concerned cllr Andrea Dalton voiced her objections to the content of the discussion, adding that a “dangerous precedent had been set” where members were allowed to “review planning decisions at a board meeting”. She said that regardless of this or any particular case, or even its merits, “there is a reason advisers are outside the planning process” and insisted that “procedures had to be followed ”.
“It’s shameful what happened today and the blurring of the lines with the board executive, and I don’t think this should be allowed at a board meeting,” she said. declared.