Plans for Lissywollen housing project to be lodged next month

A total of 170 new social housing units will come on stream in Lissywollen, should a major 500-plus house project garner planning approval from An Bord Pleanála, it's been revealed.

ABOVE: The site outlined in red, with other local landmarks identified.

A formal application is due to be lodged with the planning board in mid-August by Alanna Roadbridge Developments Ltd as part of the Strategic Housing Development (SHD) process, the fast-track scheme for large scale developments which bypass the local authority.

At Monday's Westmeath County Council meeting, Director of Service Mark Keaveney, who has responsibility for housing, told members that they anticipate that the planning application for the Lissywollen housing proposal will be lodged in mid-August by the developers. Should approval come through, Mr Keaveney said he could see construction beginning there in the early part of quarter one next year.

In October last, Alanna Roadbridge Developments Ltd signalled their intentions by submitting pre-application consultation plans to An Bord Pleanála for 547 housing units at Lissywollen, made up of 279 houses and 268 apartments, two creches, and associated site works. 70% of the housing would be private with the remaining 30% social housing.

The overall 39.5-acre site for the proposed development surrounds the existing Brawney estate in Lissywollen and extends east towards the ESB facility in Garrycastle.

The project involves, and is dependent on, the development of a controversial link road between the Ballymahon Road roundabout and Garrycastle Road first before the development of the housing element.

Cllr Frankie Keena (FF) stressed the need at Monday's meeting to continue to link in with the residents on the plans before a full application goes into An Bord Pleanála.

It comes he said on foot of a recent virtual meeting using Microsoft Teams between locals, the council, and the developers in relation to concerns about aspects of the road development and green space. Some tweaks have already been made to designs on foot of the consultation with local people in Brawney and he hopes there will be further consultation before the application is lodged with An Bord Pleanála, Cllr Keena said afterwards.

Green Party Cllr Louise Heavin praised the nature of the recent consultation between all sides in Brawney, describing it as “first-class.”

Later, Mr Keaveney said the developers are finalising details of the scheme and have been back to discuss it with some people in Brawney, in particular, the school.

He told the meeting that the indicated date for the application to go into An Bord Pleanála is mid-August.

Full planning applications for SHDs, once lodged with An Bord Pleanála, must be decided within a mandatory 16-week period, which also includes public consultation and submission of a report by the planning authority.

It's understood the Covid-19 crisis may have some implications for meeting these timelines in the future.

Back in 2018, Westmeath County Council sought expressions of interest to develop the site at Lissywollen, with Alanna Roadbridge the bidder picked following a tender process the following year.

As part of the deal agreed with the council, the consortium will pay €2.4m to purchase the land on which the private houses will be built.