Veteran Dublin auctioneer Sean Davin is working on an ambitious plan to deliver hundreds of new jobs to Navan, Co Meath.
Having forged a reputation over decades as one of the capital’s foremost estate agents, Davin confirmed to the Sunday Independent his hope to attract what he described as a “substantial company” providing “sustainable well-paid jobs” to locate on a 16.7 hectare (41.2 acre) site he owns in the townland of Balreask, close to Navan.
An examination of records held at the Land Registry shows that Davin’s Old Balreask Company acquired the lands in 2015 from another well-known auctioneer, Louis Scully, in 2015.
But while Davin is clearly determined to help create jobs in Navan, he told this newspaper that his plan for the site he owns at Balreask will be very much dependent on whether or not Meath County Council proceeds with the construction of a 1.4km distributor road
The proposed road was designated in the Navan Development Plan 2009 as a ‘Phase 2’ project, and its delivery will be essential before any large employer will consider locating on the Balreask lands, Davin said.
The former auctioneer added that other lands with residential zoning, owned separately by other parties, would also have difficulty in securing planning permission for new housing in the event the new road was not built.
Recognising the challenge this presented to his own ambition to develop the Balreask lands and create employment in the Navan area, Davin engaged the services of public affairs consultant and former Environment Minister Noel Dempsey with a view to making a proposal to Meath County Council for the road building programme to be advanced.
An examination of the Lobbying Register returns for Noel Dempsey Consulting shows that the former minister and Fianna Fail TD for Meath met with the chief executive of Meath County Council, Jackie Maguire, and the council’s director of services, Kevin Stewart, on one occasion in late 2017.
The purpose of the meeting, according to the Lobbying Register, was to discuss the “use of land at Balreask Old… for employment and development”, while the ‘intended result’ was to secure “agreeement to drafting a Part 8 proposal for a vital road link at Old Balreask”.
Commenting on the representation made on his behalf to Meath County Council, Davin placed it within the context of the Council’s own stated policy objective of “reducing the very significant numbers of Meath residents commuting to Dublin daily for work” and the council’s “ambition is to further grow the economy of Navan as the administrative capital of County Meath”.
“Our own long-term intention coincides with Meath Council’s objective,” he said.
Davin added that “should a proposal emerge from any substantial company to locate on our lands, we hope to attract sustainable well-paid jobs (perhaps in the tech or healthcare industries) that should bring real benefits to the local economy.”
An examination of Meath County Council’s website shows that it published a Part 8 planning notice on December 12 last in which it proposed the construction of the distributor road, along with cycling and walking facilities.
REF: Irish Independent