At its meeting on the 6th December Wicklow County Council voted by 13 to 4 to approve changes to the layout of houses and an increase of 34 in the Greystones Harbour Plan. I welcome this as this should give added confidence and enable phase 2, the clubs, Medical Center, 11 apartments and public square be completed and the hoardings come down within 15 months.
Phase 1, all the heavy engineering work, is now complete and the contractor will have all heavy equipment off site by mid January. A wonderful public harbour has been built something Greystones has been trying to achieve for over a hundred years.
Councillors have been informed that funding will be required from NAMA for phase 2 and this will likely be forthcoming as the Medical Centre is mostly let and to secure tenants. Thus it make financial sense to go ahead. It was important to give confidence to all concerned and passing this change was important to do this. I was disappointed that the Cathaoirleach of the Council, Cllr. Tom Fortune (Labour), who has continually opposed this visionary project, voted against this as if he had won the vote it could have resulted in the hoardings being up much longer. The 4 Councillors who opposed it were all Labour and most wanted Social Housing in it.
The Councils legal opinion is that the Council has the power to make these relatively minor changes. 2 Greystones residents have asked Bord Pleanala to decide if the Council has the power to make these changes or if they should be decided by the Bord. Unfortunately waiting for this decision could take 6 to 18 months which would delay the hoardings coming down. I would appeal to them to withdraw their letter to the Bord in order that they do not to delay the project.