“ARE we going to be like Los Angeles, where everybody has to get into their car for a loaf of bread?” said Cllr Vincent P Martin (Green) this week.
“We’re slowly but surely killing Naas town centre,” he said.
He was commenting on the recent intervention of the Planning Regulator raising concerns with the county council over its Local Area Plan (LAP) for Naas.
The Regulator was of the opinion that the LAP “facilitates increased developments on the fringes of the M7 to the detriment of the town centre” which Cllr Martin has welcomed.
“Housing sprawl around Naas and an excessive focus on development near the M7 would draw car-based economic activity given its distance from where people lived,” he said.
“If the council displayed the same level of enthusiasm and prioritisation to implement the recommendations of the Regulator that they currently invest in building more roads, Naas will turn the corner and thrive again,” he suggested.
Cllr Martin was one of the six councillors who voted down the Naas Inner Relief Road last month, believing “central Government needs to make a seismic shift in public transport policy”.
“Naas is a fabulous place but its planning direction must change or else it runs the risk of slowly becoming a small-scale, disjointed network of suburbs where heavy reliance on car usage would be required for most social, economic and shopping activities,” he argued.
He said that he believes the Regulator’s intervention vindicates the repeated position adopted by the Green Party in Naas and throughout the county.
“This is a pivotal wake-up-and-smell-the-coffee moment for Naas which finds itself at a critical planning crossroads – it’s important that the Regulators well-made observations are effectively acted upon”.