There appear to be far more questions than answers over the recent agreement by Meath County Council to pay a fee of approximately €3.35m to purchase 5,4 acres of land at Ashewood, Ashbourne

During the debate on the County development plan, one of the recommendations from county manager Jackie Maguire was that land owned by the Ashbourne Community Council be dezoned and the zoning moved to land owned by a development company.

This meant the development company’s land was zoned residential It also dramatically reduced the assets of the Ashbourne community by approximately €5 million.

This also ended Ashbourne’s community plans for a larger state-of-the-art community centre – Stage I improvements to the centre had already been completed in 2020.

In May Meath Live reported, ‘Land which ended up in the hands of developers after the zoning was moved from land owned by Ashbourne Community Council is for sale on the open market at almost two and a half million euros.

‘Auctioneers Knight Frank who are overseeing the sale of the 5.4 acres at the rear of Ashewood estate, confirmed to Meath Live, ‘We are looking at around €460,000 an acre for this which gives a total value of around €2.5 million.

‘In the course of the current development plan zoning for development was moved from an 8-acre site at the Community Centre to the new location owned by a developer on the recommendation of the Meath County manager.

‘The land at Ashewood was originally zoned for agricultural use but is now zoned for development

Had the zoning remained where it was and the land been sold for the same price the community would have benefited to the tune of €3.6 million.’

Now it appears a development company have profited rather than the local community.

Three questions immediately spring to mind

1; Cue Bono? A Latin phrase used by legal eagles which means who benefits

The obvious answer appears to be the developer, and that’s business they owned the land and were entitled to sell it.

2; What was the logic behind Meath County Council’s decision to deprive the community of an asset and effectively gifting that asset to developers at the taxpayers’ expense ??

3; If back in May the auctioneers were expecting to get a price of €2.5m why just two months later is the council preparing to fork out over €1m more of taxpayers money to buy it.

The democratically elected members of the council allowed this to happen on the County Managers recommendation but somebody somewhere planned, activated and made that recommendation happen.

Why?

A Council spokesperson said, ‘ Meath County Council have Sale Agreed on the land in question and it is going through conveyancing at present. The Council hope to be in a position to sign contracts once our legal advisors have completed due diligence