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19/09/2021

Derelict Naas industrial sites must be developed

Enterprise

Derelict Naas industrial sites must be developed

The site of the old Cemex plant in Naas, where Applegreen proposes to build

Two former industrial sites on the outskirts of Naas must be developed through an easing of land use restrictions.

Both the former Cemex pipe manufacturing plant and the ex-Donnelly Mirrors site on the Dublin side of the town have been  closed since late 2007. The combined size of the sites is in the region of 19 acres.

Fianna Fail TD James Lawless wants the sites - which are owned separately - to be open for development for  projects including hotel or guesthouses, light industry, motor sales, offices or warehouse depots or stores.

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“This is one of the most strategic vacant land sites in Naas, the site was prominent and is one of the major gateways into Naas,” he said, adding that the development plan for Naas needs to be altered “to give the chance for viable industry, enterprise, and other employment opportunities to ensue.”

If the forthcoming plan is not altered to permit an expanded range of possible uses “it will severely limit any of these opportunities from occurring and this site will remain redundant for the foreseeable future.”

As it stands what is permitted to be developed is too limited and restrictive in scope to provide achievable or economically viable opportunities for this strategic land land bank, he said.

Dep Lawless told the Leader: “This is a landmark site (but)  it’s derelict and a lot of projects could happen there.”

As it stands the land is “nearly frozen” in terms of what it can be used for, he said.

He  said the zoning must be more flexible and he urged Kildare County Council to talk with the owners.

He stressed he was not proposing that it be used for retail purposes.

“It needs to be more industrial or commercial and this would tie in with what is happening at the adjacent  business park.”

In June 2016, Kildare County Council granted permission for a  motorway services area, a training office and a food research and production facility at the former Cemex plant. KCC’s decision prompted a number of appeals to An Bord Pleanála, the planning appeals board.

The appellants included operators of other service stations in the area.

One of the appeals came from Applegreen which questioned the amount of levies imposed by KCC.

It contended that the levies bill should be cut from €750,000 to €128,000.

However Applegreen withdrew its appeal but the development didn’t proceed.

Naas Tidy Towns representative Bill Clear said that anything that improves the appearance of the site would be welcomed.

And he predicted that the town would never win the Tidy Towns competition so long as the land remains undeveloped.

“This area has been an eyesore for many years,” he said.

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