A BATTLING community has expressed increased confidence it will get a connection to a proposed €800 million motorway.
Despite claims made by the National Roads Authority (NRA) that Buttevant doesn’t warrant a full junction connection to the Cork-Limerick motorway, the community feels it may have persuaded a Bord Pleanála hearing of the necessity for one.
Experts representing Buttevant Community Council put forward a strong case on the closing day of the hearing to inspector Danny O’Connor.
Solicitor Matt Nagle, representing the community council, said it was felt their closing submissions — which contained evidence on social, economic, strategic and planning grounds — may have tipped the case in their favour.
Mr Nagle is now hoping Mr O’Connor would recommend a full connection with Buttevant — the only town on the 80km route which hasn’t been earmarked for one.
“We believe that, privately, the National Roads Authority and Cork County Council accept that possibility too.”
He said both of those organisations didn’t want to build the junction in the belief traffic numbers wouldn’t warrant it.
“But their figures are solely based on current traffic levels for Buttevant and take no account of future development.
“Critically, they also do not take into account planning policy, which is the key factor in Bord Pleanála decisions.”
Mr Nagle said the National Spatial Strategy — which recommended the development of the N20 — the North and West Cork Strategic Plan 2002-2020 and the Cork County Development Plan 2009 specify that rural towns like Buttevant, which have been suffering loss of population should get infrastructure support.
“That is not just idle theory; it is something that must be adhered to when considering all developments including motorways. It may not be what the NRA or Cork County Council want to hear, but it is the case.”
Mr Nagle said their planning policy planning advisors, McCutcheon Mulcahy, strongly feel the Bord Pleanála inspector will recommend a junction at Velvetstown, which is about 3km north of the town.
“I suppose you could say that it is a test case about real measures to arrest and reverse rural decline and loss of population,” Mr Nagle added.
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