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Former councillor Sonny Scanlan

Former councillor claims de-zoning cost his €2.5m

THE de-zoning of almost nine acres of land land in Quin due to flooding concerns has a potential loss of between €2 million and €2.5m in land sales, a former councillor has claimed.

Sonny Scanlon has previously received in the region of €1m for selling land at Madara, Quin, which facilitated the construction of 45 houses in a new housing estate.

The former Fine Gael Councillor had planned to provide land to a prospective developer to build phased housing on land adjoining the existing residential estate.

However, Mr Scanlon’s plans suffered a major set-back on Monday after councillors supported a recommendation from acting chief executive officer, Ger Dollard, to remove residential zoning from this site and amend the settlement boundary accordingly.

According to Mr Scanlon, he had received two offers to purchase this land for €2m and €2.5m from different developers.

In a submission to the planning authority by Project Design and Building Services on behalf of Mr Scanlon, it was stated that the ground levels of the site would be raised by two metres to eliminate any flooding issues and that construction access to the site could be provided via a temporary access within Mr Scanlon’s landholding alongside a water tower.

It was submitted that the existing Madara housing estate is built on lands previously owned by Mr Scanlon and therefore he is legally entitled to utilise the existing infrastructure, roads and services for the benefit of any future development on the site.

However, having regard to the assessment of the site contained in the Strategic Flood Risk Assessment, Mr Dollard stated this site currently functions as a surface water storage area and development of the land might exacerbate this issue.

“The location of the site is in a topographic hollow and concern that potential mitigation measures provided as part of any future development may not be effective have resulted in a reconsideration of the zoning on this site.

“The protection of existing and future residences from flood risk is of paramount importance. Given the information currently available, I do not consider it appropriate to retain the residential zoning on this site,” he said.

Mr Scanlon pointed out this parcel of land has been zoned for residential development twice. Acknowledging there was some flash flooding last February, Mr Scanlon claimed the provision of a pipe to drain the water into a nearby culvert would have dealt with any flooding risk or concerns.

Claiming this site is suitable for development, he recalled there was more water on land for the first phase of the development, which was also drained into the culvert without any problem.

“Engineering solutions can be implemented to deal with the flooding risk. I believe if most of the Ennis councillors saw this site, they would not be against development,” he said.

He claimed if the same planners adjudicated zoning for the first phase, they would not be allowed any development. He said the planners didn’t come out to check the site or meet with him to discuss their concerns.

Having first purchased 12 acres of bog in 1977, Mr Scanlon said he drilled down five feet of rock 60m in length to provide proper drainage in 1982, which made a huge difference and facilitated the cutting of hay and silage.

In a separate submission, residents of Maigh Dara claimed the development of this site would lead to flooding in their estate and requested this land be rezoned for agricultural use.

They stated flooding already poses a threat to house numbers 10 and 16 and that in-filling of this site would most likely lead to flooding in the estate.

Mr Dollard stated, “The protection of existing and future residences from flood risk is of paramount importance” and reiterated that he did not consider it appropriate to retain the residential zoning on this site.

Dan Danaher

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