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Boundary fence approved for soccer club

THERE was good news for two Shannon soccer clubs this week as Shannon Town United had their application to construct a new fence upheld by An Bord Pleanála, while Clare County Council have agreed to give a piece of land to Shannon Olympic for a nominal sum.
An Bord Pleanála have granted planning permission to Shannon Town United for the erection of a boundary fence, including gates, to the perimeter of their pitch at Drumgeely/Tullyglass.
Clare County Council’s original decision to grant planning had been appealed by the Drumgeely Residents Association.
In her report, An Bord Pleanála inspector Una Crosse outlined a number of the grounds of appeal. This included a view that the Drumgeely Riverside Walk “is the most significant natural amenity in Shannon and would be seriously damaged by the proposal”.
It was claimed the fence would be unduly imposing on a narrow walkway and that its height was excessive, while it was claimed the fence could create space for anti-social behaviour and loitering.
In their response, the club claimed the fence was needed to prevent littering, use by people for hitting golf balls, fouling and digging of the surface by dogs, the creation of paths by walkers and vandalism through the creation of car and motorbike tracks. It was claimed the path, which is used as access to the river walk, is not used after dark and that the subject pathway is not intended to be used outside daylight hours.
In her report, Ms Crosse said while she is of the view that a fence is acceptable, she raised some concerns.
She felt there were reasonable grounds for having a fence in place.
“The pitch has been in use by the applicants for a considerable time and during this time, considerable investment has been made to make the pitch more playable. I consider that the rationale for enclosing the pitch with a durable fence is satisfactory and I do not consider that the absence of physical values would undermine the importance of the asset.
“The appellant’s concerns regarding the usability of the walkway if the fence were erected are noted but I do not consider that if the fence were erected in the location proposed that it would make the walkway unusable. However, I consider that while it is acceptable in principle, in my opinion, to enclose the space in the proposed location, the height of the fence and its impact on the character of the area and particularly the walkway is of critical importance.”
She stated, “A balance must be sought in seeking to achieve the objectives of the applicant and the objectives relating to the amenity and usability of the walkway”.
She recommended permission for a fence be granted but that the height be changed from 2.4m to 1.6m.
Meanwhile, Clare County Council is to give Shannon Olympic a piece of land for a nominal sum.
In a report to the county council, Michael McNamara outlined the background to the decision.
“It is proposed to dispose of the council’s interest in lands of 0.2119 hectares at Tullyvarraga, Shannon to Shannon Olympic AFC. The lands in question are at present overgrown and unused and is of no benefit to the council.
“The consideration proposed is the nominal sum of €1 on the basis that the council are also acquiring an area from the club, which is required to facilitate access to the new housing estate, under construction at present at this location. The council will be retaining access to services on the site the club are purchasing.
“In February 2009, the council approved the sale of lands at this location to the club for €9,240 but the circumstances have changed in the interim as at the time the council had no proposal to acquire lands from the club.
“This current proposal has been agreed with the club who have facilitated the council in the construction works at this location over the past 12 months.”
The club intend to put in parking on the piece of land they are receiving.

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