Locals in East Meath are all too familiar with the Old Mill saga. The Old Mill is a 17th century Mill, one of the oldest buildings in Julianstown and steeped in history and heritage for the village. It has been derelict since 2007 and the scene of illegal dumping, traveller encampment and other anti-social behaviour. (see here, here, here and here for previous updates)
Under pressure from locals Meath County Council acted in August and issued a notice to the owners of the Old Mill under the Derelict Sites Act to carry out certain works. A concerned local company filed a formal request with the Council asking it to determine if the works required planning permission.
The Council has now made its decision finding that the major works including demolition of parts of the Old Mill and the infilling of openings in the Mill House do require planning permission since they involve material works to protected structures.
The formal declaration is copied below or can be downloaded here.
18.9.2017 S5 Decision
From our neighbours in Julianstown:
Dear East Meath Resident,
You will be aware that a group of travelers occupied the Old Mill Derelict Site for a period of over two weeks recently. The travelers have now gone leaving behind an appalling mess of litter, rubbish and scrap. (please see examples in the attached photographs)
The owners of the site are now trying to clean up and secure the site.
Meath County Council must bear a significant degree of responsibility for the nuisance and irritation occasioned by the travelers to local residents and businesses arising from their failure over the last 10 years, to deal with with this derelict site.
While the travelers may now have gone the underlying issue of the dereliction of the site remains. Local residents are losing patience with the Council on this matter.
Local residents are celebrating after Meath County Council agreed to list the Old Mill on the register of derelict sites if the owners do not conduct certain works specified by the local authority.
The Irish Times carried a full report on the outcome.
It appears that Meath has commissioned a structural engineer’s report which recommends partial dereliction of the Julianstown eyesore and will now use powers directing the owners to take appropriate steps. If the owners fail to take those steps the procedure to enter the site on the register will commence.
Documents released under FOI show that Meath has declared the site derelict as far back as 2008 and had done virtually nothing to deal with the dereliction. It also shows that persistent complaints from local people had an effect and but the threat of legal action was decisive in getting the council to give a written assurance that progress would be made.
This matter is highly embarrassing for a local authority that markets itself as the gateway to Ireland’s Ancient East and as a place to establish modern business. In reality Meath has around 400 derelict properties that for reasons unknown it refuses to identity on the register.
See Meath’s latest letter below or download
6 LT fr MCC 17.7.2017
From our friends in Julianstown:
Dear East Meath Resident.
FP Logue Solicitors acting for a local client, have placed Meath County Council on notice that legal action will be initiated against them if they fail to place the Old Mill Derelict Site in Julianstown, on the Derelict Sites Register, by 21st July 2017.
Some of the relevant correspondence with MCC can be viewed on the attached documents.
Since the Old Mill Hotel burned down in 2007 the site has been an ugly ruin in the village of Julianstown.
In June 2008 MCC officials declared the site “Derelict” thus obliging them to enter the site on the Derelict Sites Register in accordance with the provisions of the Derelict Sites Act, 1990.
In the intervening 9 years MCC have failed to comply with the law in respect of this matter.
County Wide Issue
The Derelict sites register published by MCC contains only 8 entries, the last of which was made in 2010. 7 of these of these entries are in respect of the village of Kells and 1 in respect of Ratoath. No other entries have been made in respect of the entirety of the rest of the county. It is understood from MCC meeting minutes that there are approximately 400 derelict sites in the county. Other than the above, none of these sites none of these sites has been entered on the register. This appears to represent a systemic failure by MCC to act in accordance with their legal obligations.
The people of Meath would be entitled to know what is going on in this regard in MCC.
See below for the legal correspondence. Download here.
The information released under FOI is also included below. Download here and here
First FOI Old Mill
Old Mill FOI 16June2017
This is the current Meath register of derelict sites. Download here
Meath Register of Derelict sites June 2017
In a briefing released under FOI legislation Transport Infrastructure Ireland has finally admitted that the M1 motorway was never intended to solve the traffic problems in Julianstown.
The briefing, prepared for Deputy Imelda Munster, analysed the effect of removing the Donore Road sliproad tolls. These tolls are a bone of contention for the retail parks located at the motorway exits in Drogheda since they impose a toll on traffic using the M1 to travel from one side of Drogheda to the other. The conclusion of the briefing was that removing these tolls would increase traffic by 4,500 per day in Julianstown.
This is the crucial quote from the briefing:
It has always been recognised by the Authority, and borne out in traffic studies undertaken, that the old N1 (existing R132) route would continue to attract significant traffic volumes due to the commercial/residential traffic movements in and around Drogheda town, the movements to/from Drogheda, and the movements to/from Drogheda Port.
TII goes on the lay the blame on the local authorities for granting planning permission to the retail parks in the full knowledge that the slip road tolls were in place.
It is quite troubling that this information has now emerged. As far back as the 1980s, locals predicted this would happen but were constantly reassured by the authorities that the new motorway would solve all of Julianstown’s problems (see articles below).
This is the report by TII, download here (scroll down for some historical articles).
20161019 eCorr 13268 IMunster tolls sliproads incl briefing
Article from 1987 quoting Meath County Council’s assurances that M1 would take most of the traffic out of Julianstown .
Article from 1992 where locals warn that bypass as planned will not solve Julianstown’s traffic problems.
May saw a huge increase in traffic on Julianstown Main Street as house building starts anew in the East Meath region.
Equipment maintained by Transport Infrastructure Ireland next to the primary school in the historic East Meath village counted an average of 21,313 vehicles per day including 22,263 per weekday when commuters travel to and from work.
This level of traffic is already an environmental disaster with noise and air pollution certainly harming the health of people who live and work in the village, especially the children who attend the primary school and Little Joey’s creche.
At this rate traffic volumes will exceed pre-M1 levels within the next eight years.
Our graphs below chart the 7-day and weekday average traffic volumes per month and also for the month of May. Volumes have increased from economic crisis lows in 2013 by 10% in four years.
We have just be provided with a report commissioned by Transport Infrastructure Ireland into what effect removing the tolls on the slip roads at Donore would have. The report was released to the NGO Right to Know and passed to us.
While the report concludes that tolling should not be removed, it acknowledges that overall on the M1 toll avoidance is extremely low. This now puts to bed once and for all the attitude that the M1 toll is the cause of the traffic chaos in Julianstown and East Meath.
Read the report below or download here
AECOM traffic study
Just posting some photos from the excellent Julianstown Music festival
Mid-morning on Good Friday, in the space of five minutes, 9 HGVs go through Main Street Julianstown, many speeding.
Big shout out to the Gain Feeds driver barrelling down the hill who slammed on the brakes when he saw he was being photographed
In welcome news Councillor Sharon Tolan has revealed that Meath Co Co has agreed to spend €300k over the next year or two on traffic management infrastructure and will progress planning for a by-pass of the village.
After intense lobbying by locals, the penny has dropped with the local authority that the renewed housing construction in the East Meath region is going to seriously harm the environment and the health and safety of people in the picturesque village.
The announcement of projects that have been on the cards since 2013 shows how important it is to make sure that the County Development Plan process delivers specific measures targeted at environmental issues such as traffic pollution in Julianstown.
We at East Meath look forward to these important measures and to real progress towards removing the 20,000 vehicles per day using the Main Street in Julianstown.