John Teeling (right) is abandoning his ambitious Kilcurry plans
Tuesday's special meeting to discuss the proposed whiskey maturation warehouses planned for Kilcurry will still go ahead - despite claims from Great Northern Distillery founder John Teeling that he is abandoning the project.
Plans lodged with Louth County Council to build 13 whiskey maturation warehouses on a 111 acre site in North Louth materially contravene the County Development Plan but the local authority decided to place the final decision on the development with councillors.
That decision was due to be made at a meeting of Dundalk Municipal District councillors next week and despite Teeling's comments at the weekend that he is pulling out of the project, the council say the planning application is live and therefore the special meeting of Louth County Council, to be held after the monthly Dundalk Municipal District meeting, is set to go ahead.
Speaking to The Irish Times over the weekend, the Great Northern Distillery boss Teeling revealed he was abandoning plans for 13 whiskey warehouses in light of local opposition to the move.
"The warehouse won’t be in Co Louth,” he told the newspaper, "What’s the point when someone else will come after us?” Teeling admitted he had made mistakes in the planning process, claiming that public consultation happened too soon and allowed opponents to "organise".
"Between ourselves and the council, we made a hames of it,” he said. The businessman also confirmed he would now pursue plans to build homes on the site.
A total of 42 submissions had been made in objection to the major development, including from the Kilcurry Concerned Residents Committee and the Parents Committee from Schoil Phadraig Naofa.
It materially contravenes two aspects of the Louth County Development Plan 2015-2021. The first is in relation to 'large scale industrial and commercial developments not being 'considered appropriate' for a greenbelt area around Dundalk. The second is encouraging residential development that is commensurate with the availability of public services and facilities locally.
On Monday, a statement from Kilcurry Concerned Residents said the Irish Times article was “extremely one-sided" meanwhile Fine Gael councillor and cathoairleach of Dundalk Municipal District John McGahon called the comments in the article ‘somewhat disingenuous’.
"At no point did John Teeling say he has bought land that was not zoned for the type of development he wanted to build," McGahon said. "I have always been against this development, purely because I felt we needed to uphold our country development plan.
"I did not like the concept of an individual buying land zoned for one purpose and then believing you can steamroll local people and members of Louth County Council into rezoning the land for you and saving you a considerable expense in the meantime.
"I felt the article was somewhat disingenuous, at no point did John Teeling say he has bought land that was not zoned for the type of development he wanted to build. Teeling bought land that is mainly zoned as agricultural, in order to build a warehouse he would require land zoned as industrial," he continued.
If Teeling was to go-ahead with the whiskey warehouse development, he would require Louth County Council members to vote by two-thirds in favour of rezoning the land for appropriate industrial use.