Longer opening hours will ‘have unbearable impact’

By Aideen O'Flaherty

RESIDENTS who live at the back of the Greenhills NCT Centre said that plans for longer opening hours at the facility will have an “unbearable” impact on them.

Applus Inspection Services Ltd, which operates the National Car Testing service on behalf of the Road Safety Authority, lodged a planning application with South Dublin County Council last month.

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Residents out a back garden in Tymon pointing towards the NCT centre with Paul Murphy, TD

The company is seeking planning permission for the construction of a 4.5m acoustic wall, with cranked top to the back and side boundaries of the NCT centre, and also for revised operating hours that they previously received permission for from An Bord Pleanála in 2015.

The revised operating hours are 8am to 6pm on Monday and Tuesday, 8am to 10pm from Wednesday to Friday, then 8am to 7pm on Saturday and 8am to 5pm on Sundays.

However, residents who live at the rear of the test centre, on Tymonville Road, are concerned about the noise disruption the revised opening hours could cause and they are unsure of the efficacy of the proposed acoustic wall.

Tymonville Road resident Colm Lynch told The Echo: “This is not just a mild inconvenience – the noise from the test centre is horrendous.

“Because it’s bordering onto a residential area, the impact will be unbearable. It’s just awful.

“A lot of people are working from home, but they can’t leave their windows open during the day because you can hear the noise and people talking at the test centre.

“It’s so loud it’s like they’re standing right beside you.”

When asked about the plans for an acoustic wall at the site, Mr Lynch said: “The efficacy of this wall is what this hinges on.”

One of the other issues that residents have raised is that they were not directly contacted by Applus when the plans were lodged, and didn’t find out about the plans in time to lodge submissions.

Mr Lynch explained: “The NCT put up a site notice last October during lockdown. It was far from everyone’s mind.

“There was an ad in The Echo, but The Echo wasn’t being delivered at the time.

“Everyone was staying home, so we weren’t going to go down to the cul-de-sac where the centre is and see the sign, so we missed the chance to put in a submission because of that.”

Applus erected a public site notice at the Greenhills NCT Centre on October 16, 2020, and also satisfied the newspaper notice requirement for planning applications by placing an ad in the October 15, 2020, edition of The Echo.

People Before Profit TD, Paul Murphy, who has previously campaigned against extended opening hours at the test centre, told The Echo: “I think it’s quite possible that they followed the letter of the rule, but they’re breaking the spirit of the rule by not informing the residents directly.” He added: “They haven’t done a noise impact assessment from residents’ homes. Residents aren’t at all convinced that the acoustic wall will stop the noise from the centre.”

Applus recently submitted clarification of additional information that South Dublin County Council requested, and a decision has not yet been made on the planning application.

Mr Lynch added: “This is our little corner of the world, our homes. There’s 100 things I’d rather be doing than be in the middle of this.”

A spokesperson for Applus was contacted for comment, but a response wasn’t received in time for print.

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