Controversial Courtown ‘land swap’ on Council agenda

Boats in the bay like ships in the night at Courtown Harbour marina (File Pic; WexfordLocal.com)

By Dan Walsh

Tensions are rising in Courtown where details are emerging that a proposed “land swap” between the site of the old sea-front Bayview Hotel and the much more spacious Wexford County Council carpark is likely to be on the agenda at the March meeting of Wexford County Council for a vote of the full Council members to make a decision that would be a game changer for the future of Courtown as a top seaside destination.

Local businessman Thomas O’Loughlin. who owns the site of the old Bayview Hotel has outlined his plans to apply for planning permission for a 144-room hotel in Courtown. It has been suggested that this hotel would be constructed on the site of the Wexford County Council car park if a proposal for a land swap between the old Bayview Hotel site and the car park is approved and subject to planning permission being granted.

The proposal for the swap falls to a Section 183 decision and needs to go on the Council agenda and be voted on by the members of Wexford County Council before any decision is made.

Meanwhile, Courtown Community Council is calling on Oireachtas and public representatives to postpone a vote on the matter to the April meeting after the launch of the Smart Village Plan. In a statement issued today, the Courtown group said; “The important conversation about the future development of a new hotel in Courtown is one that all of us who live, work and enjoy the area should have the opportunity to have our views heard on.”

Courtown Community Council has been gathering the views from the community since October for the Smart Village Plan. One key area of the Smart Village Plan is the future development of Courtown and Riverchapel. “We will be launching the Smart Village Plan on March 13th and we notified Wexford County Council and the local elected representatives of this launch earlier this month.

“Unfortunately, the timing has now become an issue as it appears the CEO of Wexford County Council, (Mr Tom Enright), has stated the decision on this land swap or leasing will go to the councillors in a meeting in either March or April. “If this takes place in the March meeting, it will be in advance of the launch of the Smart Village Plan,” claims the Community Council, who added; “We have contacted all the local representatives to ask them to postpone a vote on this matter to the April meeting after the launch of the Smart Village Plan. This is such an important decision; it should be given the consideration it is due. You can contact our local representatives to let them know if you feel the vote should be postponed too.”

Meanwhile, the design for a hotel at Courtown has won a silver medal in one of the world’s most prestigious design competitions.

Fergus Flanagan Architects based in Wexford town has been given a Silver Winner Award in the category of Hospitality Architecture Concept in the ADC Annual Design Awards based in New York.

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