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Council not tempted by Apple

WHEN it came to the crunch, a planning application by Applegreen Ltd to build a motorway service station on the Limerick to Ennis motorway has been refused permission by Clare County Council.

A decision has been made on the controversial planning application, which received a number of local objections, including one from Ennis Chamber.

In January, Applegreen Services Area Ltd submitted an application to Clare County Council for the development of a motorway service area at Latoon South and Latoon North, Dromoland on the M18.

In making their decision to refuse permission, the planning authority noted other proposed service stations along the M18. Pat McDonagh, CEO of Supermacs, was granted planning permission for a motorway service station at junction 12 of the motorway. This decision has since been appealed to An Bord Pleanála. Meanwhile, Transport Infrastructure Ireland has undertaken public consultations in relation to the provision of an online service station between Ennis and Sixmilebridge.

Clare County Council’s planning authority outlined its objective under the County Development Plan to safeguard the motorway and national road junctions in line with national policy. This policy “advocates a co-ordinated approach to the provision of off-line motorway service areas through the planning process and outlines that the proliferation of private off-line service area facilities at national road junctions shall be avoided”.

The planning authority stated, “Having regard to the foregoing, and having regard to other planned and proposed service stations along the M18, it is considered that the proposed development would set a precedent for further developments of off-line motorway service area facilities between Junction 7 to 12 of the M18, would be contrary to the objectives of the development plan and would be contrary to ministerial guidelines.”

Clare County Council also reasoned that the proposal would “endanger public safety” by reason of a traffic hazard, due to additional traffic turning movements and car parking.
Applegreen had sought to develop an off-line motorway service area including the demolition of buildings, provision of a new entrance and exit, forecourt, five eat-in/takeaway cafés/restaurants, a picnic area and tourist information area. Parking for 184 cars was also planned.

As well as Ennis Chamber, the proposal had been objected to by Dromoland Castle Hotel and Claureen Service Station, while An Taisce also voiced concerns.

Applegreen were last year denied planning permission for an almost identical development at the same site. An appeal to An Bord Pleanála made by Applegreen against the council’s decision was then later withdrawn by the company in July.

Jessica Quinn

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