Friday, February 18, 2022

The derelict site owned by Applegreen at the Dublin road in Naas                              Photo Peter Earley

By Finian Coghlan

THEY have left us with an horrendous bomb site, and they should not be proud of this,” was the scathing assessment of a local councillor about Applegreen, the owners the former Cemex plant on the Dublin Road approach to the town.

We can never win Tidy Towns while this is there. We’ve got so used to it, and it’s just plain wrong, and Applegreen should not be allowed to leave it like this,” said Cllr Bill Clear about the former Odlums/Donnelly Motors/ Cemex Pipes site at the J9 Maudlins entrance to the town, now owned by the fuel firm.

Applegreen are dragging their feet, and holding Naas Tidy Towns to ransom. I’ve asked to meet them twice, but got no reply,” said Cllr Clear.

For the last number of years I have submitted this site appear on the Derelict Sites Register, but it has never appeared,” he said.

The 1.49Ha (3.67ac) site has been empty since 2007, and derelict since a fire in 2012, and on account of this, has been a regular appearance on the agenda of the monthly meetings of the Naas Municipal District.

Last week (8 February) Cllr Clear asked again if the council “has engaged with the owners of the Cemex [Applegreen] site to develop a masterplan for future use of the site?”

The firm gave some hope to the council back in 2016 when it got planning permission to build a service station and logistics facility on the site, but it subsequently withdrew this application after an appeal against the €750,000 development levy failed at An Bord Pleanála, as Applegreen argued their responsibilities in this area should have been just €127,000.

At last week’s meeting Cllr Clear was told by senior planner Amy Granville that it was indeed “an objective of the council to facilitate the regeneration and redevelopment of the lands in line with the recently adopted Naas Local Area Plan (LAP) 2021-2027”, and that she expected some movement within the next year.

She explained that since the eventual adoption of the LAP on 1 December, the county council is now locked into the National Development Framework, adherence to which requires “any masterplan for these lands will be informed by the Traffic Modelling and Access Strategy”.

It is an objective of the council to prepare such a strategy of this key development area within 12 months of the adoption of the LAP, in consultation with relevant stakeholders including Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), the National Transport Authority (NTA) and the owners,” said Ms Granville in her formal reply.

Given that the plan only came into effect on the 1 December, the process to initiate that modelling has just recently begun, and engagement at this early stage is considered to be premature” she added.

To be fair to Applegreen, they didn’t create this mess, they bought into it,” offered Mayor Seamie Moore fairly. “I don’t blame Applegreen, and hopefully this masterplan will sort out this site,” he added.

I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but the Green councillor is happy for the big oil company to do something here,” said Cllr Colm Kenny.

When contacted by the Kildare Nationalist Applegreen said they had no comment to make on the matter at this time.

Contact Newsdesk: 045 432147

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