The Kerryman (South Kerry Edition) - - NEWS - By DÓ­NAL NOLAN

AN Bord Pleanála’s de­ci­sion this week to grant per­mis­sion for the Lis­towel By­pass and the com­pul­sory pur­chase of land needed for the project has been met with deep dis­ap­point­ment in the town where many are con­cerned about its im­pact on ev­ery­thing from trade to the en­vi­ron­ment.

The de­ci­sion has been made sub­ject to two key con­di­tions – that the EIS is im­ple­mented and pub­lic wa­ter at Scartlea pro­tected.

The Board ar­rived at its find­ing hav­ing considered a range of con­cerns out­lined by groups and in­di­vid­u­als in sub­mis­sions to the plan and in di­rect tes­ti­mony at an oral hear­ing held over three days in Septem­ber. The board ruled that the by­pass would not have ‘sig­nif­i­cant neg­a­tive ef­fects on the com­mu­nity in the vicin­ity’.

Kerry County Coun­cil can now pro­ceed with the N69 Lis­towel By­pass Pro­posed Road De­vel­op­ment Com­pul­sory Pur­chase Order, al­low­ing it to ac­quire the land needed to con­struct the 5.95km ‘western and north­ern by­pass’ of the town, and ex­tin­guish rights of way.

The by­pass will com­prise 3.65km of new road con­struc­tion to the west of the town as well as the up­grade of 2.3km of the John B Keane Road it is to en­com­pass to the north of the town cen­tre in a project that will in­clude three round­abouts, one bridge of the river Feale, a num­ber of side-road re­align­ments, junc­tion up­grades as well as new bi­cy­cle and pedes­trian pro­vi­sions be­tween the N69 at Biller­agh and Ca­her­down round­about at the junc­tion with the Tar­bert Road.

Kerry County Coun­cil be­lieves the project is vi­tal if the au­thor­ity is to pro­vide for the fu­ture de­vel­op­ment and ex­pan­sion of the town, in terms of pop­u­la­tion and econ­omy.

32 writ­ten ob­jec­tions to the CPO it­self were re­ceived, four of which are still out­stand­ing.

There re­mains deep con­cern among busi­ness­peo­ple about the im­pact on trade; among res­i­dents of neigh­bour­hoods di­rectly im­pacted by the project, and by many wor­ried about the ef­fect on lo­cal wildlife - not least a sig­nif­i­cant whop­per swan colony lit­tle over 100m from where the by­pass will tra­verse south of the Feale.

The much-loved Sive Walk on bog­land west of Lis­towel will also be trans­formed, with the plan to ‘ac­com­mo­date’ it on a new walk­way to the north at less than 1km in length.

One of the main groups formed to op­pose the plan, the Lis­towel Anti-By­pass Com­mu­nity, de­scribed the En­vi­ron­men­tal Im­pact State­ment submitted by the Coun­cil in the ap­pli­ca­tion as ‘de­fi­cient’ in the way it as­sessed the al­ter­na­tive route op­tion in the group’s sub­mis­sion to the board; ar­gu­ing the base­line anal­y­sis of the EIS did not pro­vide a suf­fi­ciently rig­or­ous as­sess­ment of how the town would de­velop in the ab­sence of the by­pass; and that the im­pact on the ‘vi­tal­ity’ of the town was not com­pre­hen­sively ad­dressed.

How­ever, the board considered the EIS as well as the re­port, as­sess­ment and con­clu­sion of its in­spec­tor as ‘ad­e­quate in iden­ti­fy­ing and de­scrib­ing the di­rect and in­di­rect ef­fects of the pro­posed road de­vel­op­ment.’ “It is considered that, sub­ject to com­pli­ance with the con­di­tions set out... the pro­posed road de­vel­op­ment would not have sig­nif­i­cant neg­a­tive ef­fects on the com­mu­nity in the vicin­ity, would not give rise to a risk of pol­lu­tion, would not give rise to detri­men­tal vis­ual or land­scape im­pacts, would not have a detri­men­tal im­pact on... her­itage, would not se­ri­ously in­jure the ameni­ties of the area... and would be ac­cept­able in terms of traf­fic safety and con­ve­nience,” the Board’s con­clu­sion stated.

The first, and main, con­di­tion of its de­ci­sion is that the pro­pos­als, mit­i­ga­tion mea­sures and com­mit­ments of the EIS be im­ple­mented in the project.

Mem­bers of the Anti-By­pass group at the re­cent oral hear­ing: De­nis Car­roll and An­drea Tay­lor, front, with Brian Fin­u­cane, An­gela Moloney, Matt Mooney, Ross Walsh and Michelle Whe­lan.

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