An Bord Pleanála considers alternative route for Slane bypass west of village


AN BORD Pleanála is considering changing the route of a Slane bypass so it will run west of the village but this will bring it just 500m from Slane Castle and its famous concert site.

Meath County Council has applied for planning permission for a 3.5km route to the east of the village which is on the N2 and has been the scene of multiple fatal accidents.

The planning board confirmed it has received 110 submissions on the proposed eastern route and has now asked the council to give it more information on a possible route to the west.

A spokesman said: “The board wants to satisfy itself that the alternatives were discounted; it is exploring all options and ensuring other alternatives were explored.”

The route put forward by the council includes a new 19m high bridge 1km east of Slane but the dual-carriageway would pass some 500m from the buffer zone of Brú na Boinne, the world heritage site that is home to Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth.

The provisional path of the western route would involve demolishing some local businesses and has met with strong opposition from the landowners involved, including the Conyngham family who own Slane Castle.

“If they think I am a pushover they have another thing coming,” said Sir Henry Mountcharles, who spent 10 years restoring Slane Castle after it was gutted by fire in 1991.

Paddy Macken’s family have been living at Harlinstown for over 70 years and have three family businesses there, including Slane Farm cottages and hostel.

“This route would wipe out a lifetime’s work by my parents, me and my children. The route would go through the yard and house and takes the lot out,” he said yesterday.

“It is just not a viable option; it looks to be three times longer and the terrain is totally unsuitable and impractical. “It doesn’t make sense and is squandering money,” Mr Mcken said.

An Bord Pleanála says the planning process is “in its infancy”, and no decision had been made on whether to hold an oral hearing into the proposed route.

However, locals believe the date for a hearing is imminent, and fear a new route will delay the building of the bypass and risk more crashes. Slane councillor Wayne Harding (FF) said: “The best route has been picked; it has taken more than 10 years to get to this stage; the people of Slane have waited long enough.”

According to Sir Henry serious questions have to be answered about “a planning process that can take us back to stage one again and delay the building of the road.Meath County Council discounted this route years ago based on its feasibility study. To propose this now is nothing short of lunacy.”

Meath County Council said: “An Bord Pleanála has requested further information on the Slane bypass scheme and one of the questions relates to details of the examination of an alternative route to the west of the village. A response is being prepared to that letter.”