Decision made on massive Coosan housing development

What's been described as the town's biggest housing development in the Coosan/Cornamagh area has got the backing of An Bord Pleanála, the Westmeath Independent can reveal today.

Castlestar (Athlone) Ltd has got the green light to proceed with the massive housing project encompassing 426 homes on land close to Buccaneers rugby club, in the townlands of Coosan, Cornamagh, and Clonbrusk despite a huge wave of local opposition to the plans. The decision is subject to compliance with 31 separate conditions as part of a board order running to over 25 pages.

Back in July, the developer lodged plans for the €120 million project directly with An Bord Pleanála (ABP) as part of the Strategic Housing Development (SHD) process, a relatively new scheme which fast-tracks large-scale housing plans to ABP for a decision bypassing the usual local authority process.

The 'Dún an Rí Athlone' development consists of 237 houses, 189 apartments, a creche, outdoor play areas, parkland and a new 430 section of a new distributor road linking Coosan and Cornamaddy. It is earmarked for a greenfield site to the north of the Coosan Road, between The Bounty pub and the Churchfields and Church Hills estates, with The Glen estate situated to the south of the site.

In its ruling seen by the Westmeath Independent today, An Bord Pleanála stated subject to compliance with the sizeable number of conditions: “It is considered the proposed development would not seriously injure the residential or visual amenities of the area or property in the vicinity, and would respect the existing character of the area, and would be acceptable in terms of traffic, pedestrian safety and convenience.”

Among the conditions laid down by the board cover a a revised phased basis of construction, mitigation measures to protect the environment, and a two-metre wall must be built along the northern and eastern boundary with farmland and sporting grounds.

Another stipulation is that the proposed signalised junction to be completed and operational before any units in phase one are occupied. The delivery of the Cornamaddy and Coosan Link Road will take place prior to the occupation of any homes in phases three and four, the planning board has also ruled.

Over 70 submissions had been lodged opposing the housing development on a variety of grounds from size, density, design, traffic congestion and concerns about a proposed access point through the Church Hills estate.

See full details of the decision and reaction in next Wednesday's Westmeath Independent.