The elected members of the Ballina Municipal District this week approved part eight planning permission for the construction of 50 social homes at Rehins Fort in the town - but added a condition that a new access road be constructed to the site.
However council officials told the members that the cost of constructing the road would be in the region of €550,000 and there was no funding to provide the road.
The meeting where the item was discussed was attended by over 30 members of the public from the Rehins Fort estate, who have concerns over the traffic issues that would come about during the construction period of the project, which was initially planned to be accessed through the current estate.
Independent Cllr Seamus Weir put forward the proposal of a new access road being constructed and told the meeting that he had been in discussions with Hollister, who have a plant beside the proposed development and they were willing to give a portion of land from their site for the new access road to be constructed.
However, Declan Turnbull head of the district for Mayo County Council, told the meeting that following on from the last meeting of the municipal district, the council went away and looked at putting in a new access road which they got costed by independent engineers and quantity surveyors and the cost came back at in the region of €550,000.
He said the council did not have that money to do the road, they contacted the relevant government department to see would they fund it and were told that they wouldn't. He added that the council also got in contact with Hollister to see if they would make a contribution, because it would also give access to their site and and while they saw positives in the proposal, they were not in a position to support it because of privacy, environmental and site security reasons.
Turnbull continued saying that if the councillors put such a condition on the proposal, it would not happen and that was the councillors' choice to make, but the council could end up having to sell the land to the highest bidder and in the future, there could be a development of of up to 100 houses built on it by a private developer.
Cathaoirleach of the district, Cllr Michael Loftus, called for a five minute recess of the meeting where the councillors went on and discussed the proposal in private. When the meeting resumed he stated: "What we have decided in relation to this project is, that the proposal that was put originally is still in play, that we want that proposal to go forward, with the access road as proposed, but we also want in the meantime a meeting to be set up with Hollister and the councillors to see if a compromise can be reached in relation to the road; that is what we have agreed and we want to go forward with that proposal."