A Commerical premises on The Mall in Templemore will have to be purchased and demolished before the town’s proposed flood relief scheme can go ahead. The news was relayed to county councillors this Monday at their monthly meeting in a letter from the OPW.
It was revealed during a discussion on a joint motion by Cllr Eddie Moran and Cllr Michael Smith calling on Junior Minister for the OPW, Brian Hayes, to explain why he had “misled” the people of Templemore in making statements regarding the scheme.
The councillors claimed that these statements had caused “huge concern and suffering” to the people concerned.
The statements were made at a Joint Oireachtas Committeee hearing.
However, the letter, which was received by North Tipperary County Council on June 21, was not read in the chamber, but the Tipperary Star has seen a copy of it.
In it, the OPW states that additional engineering and route complexities arose in relation to a section that is a key element of the flood relief scheme.
Two alternative routes had been indentified for the culvert section at the outline design stage of the project.
The route which was technically preferred would necessitate the demolition of a commercial property.
The letter stated that while the other route involved significant impacts on commercial properties, it would not involve permanent closure of businesses.
“For this reason, the latter option was chosen and shown in the proposals that were exhibited to the public,” the letter added.
However, during the subsequent detailed design of the scheme, further information and details emerged in relation to the costs asssociated with the exhibited route, including potential claims for compensation from property owners affected by the works.
There was further clarification in relation to the costs association with the other, non-exhibited route involving the closure of a commercial business.
The letter states that new information necessitated a full review of the economic rationale for each option involving a detailed analysis of the comparative costs of the two alternatives.
This took account of all likely costs, including construction and site remediation costs, property aquisition costs (for the technically preferred route) and compensation to other impacted owners.
“Following the review, its has been concluded that the technically preferred route should be proceded with, and as this represents a significant change to what was included in the scheme previously exhibited to the public, it would now be necessary to put this proposed alternative route on public exhibition. This process will be initiated immediately,” the letter stated.
It also points out that the Arterial Drainage Acts, under which the the scheme will be carried out, “contains provisions for compulsory purchase of property where required for the works, including an arbitration mechanism to determine the aquisition price”.