‘Urban redesign shouldn’t come at the expense of historical landmarks’

Submissions to Draft Flowerhill and Abbeylands Design Plan raise concerns over securing heritage features as well as calls to consider cycling, parking and fishing amenities

Concerns over cycling facilities, parking and the narrow paths on Poolboy Bridge, as well as the need for the correct use of placenames were among the issues raised during public consultation on the Draft Flowerhill and Abbeylands Urban Design Plan.

A submission from Navan & District Historical Society on Meath County Council's blueprint for the regeneration of the area, states that the loss of historic environments in Navan to facilitate new development should be no longer be entertained.

The Society's submission calls for measures to secure the incorporation of any remaining industrial features (like the Millwheel in Elliott’s Sawmill) in any redevelopment in the study area.

The Society requested that the proposed Abbeylands Quarter include an appropriate marker to Gasometer, which stood at the bottom of the Mill Lane and it called for acknowledgment of Sir Francis Beaufort in the Final Urban Design Plan.

Submissions on the draft plan were largely supportive.

The Navan and District Angling Association said fishing on both the River Boyne and River Blackwater forms a significant part of the social heritage in Flower Hill and Abbeylands and the town of Navan and suggests there is now an opportunity for the Association, Inland Fisheries Ireland and Meath County Council to join in a collaborative effort to deliver a high-quality fishing and angling facility.

They recommended that a similar facility as seen on the River Moy in Foxford Co Mayo, which includes a wheelchair friendly fishing platform, to be developed for the River Boyne.

The submission calls for District Angling Association to maintain exclusive fishing rights in the study area and expressed disappointment that there had been no reference to angling or fishing in the Draft Plan.

There were a number of submissions on cycling facilities including one from the Navan Cycling Initiative who said the two-way cycle track on Flower Hill was a positive addition to the town and would help in developing a robust network of cycling infrastructure.

The submission expressed concern that the Junction at Mill Lane does not show what segregates the cycle lane from motor vehicles and it is unclear how cyclists will be protected when seeking to tun up Mill Lane. The submission suggest that it is unclear how a cyclist turning up Ratholdren Road will be protected and it is unclear how the side road entrances are being treated for example the junction at Flower Hill Crescent.

The National Transport Authority in its submission recommended that the design of cycle infrastructure on this road should be informed by a more comprehensive local cycling network.

A local resident raised the difficulty for pedestrians traveling over Pollboy Bridge due to the pathway only being wide enough for one person. He also expressed concern over the current speed limit on the road being 50km/h and recommended the council introduce a default speed limit of 30km/h. He called for the outdated pedestrian crossing at the Round O Roundabout to be updated to include flashing amber lights and zebra crossing lines to provide safety for pedestrians.

The draft plan, drawn up with the Paul Hogarth Company in conjunction with the council's own planning department, follows two separate allocations from central government totalling over €11 million, allowing the council to acquire some derelict properties and commission the plan.

Among the proposals are streetscape enhancement including new wider pavements and cycling infrastructure on Flower Hill, a well-designed mixed-use development creating a new urban quarter for Abbeylands, a sustainable network of streets and pathways, connections with the adjacent River Blackwater and an attractive riverside park.

Cllr Eddie Fennessy said the plan will completely transform the centre of Navan.

“It contains a number of excellent initiatives in terms of connectivity and sustainable transport. The plan will also deliver green space parks on either side of the river Blackwater and a riverside path linking Mill Lane with the larger Blackwater Park.

"I commend the council for pursuing this project and indeed their plan to develop the Ramparts/Andy Brennan Park area. When both projects have been completed, Navan town centre will be the envy of the region," he said.