The Diocese of Killaloe is in for a windfall with confirmation that a key piece of development land in the heart of Ennis has been sold. The former site of Ennis National School on the Kilrush Road was put on the market by the St Flannan’s (Killaloe) Diocesan Trust, with an advised minimum value of €1.2 million. The land is seen as a strategic site in the future development of the county capital.
Auctioneer Liam Browne of REA Paddy Browne and Co told The Clare Champion that the St Flannan’s (Killaloe) Diocesan Trust are happy with the price achieved for the site. He said that, once developed, the site would enhance the town centre. However, he said he was unable to disclose the amount paid for the property or who the purchaser is.
Mr Browne said, “It would be premature to give the name of the purchaser at this stage, until the sale is formally closed. I wish the new owners well in what they intend to do with the site.”
The town centre site is zoned PS1 in the Ennis and Environs Development Plan. Mr Browne added that a variation allowing two sections to be developed separately helped to speed up the sale.
The 4.2 acre site still includes the old school building and was offered for sale by public tender. According to the auctioneers, the site offers an “excellent development opportunity” to the purchaser.
When the site was first put up for sale, it was marketed as having “the potential to contribute significantly to the enhancement of the retail experience in Ennis town”.
The site has been vacant since the relocation of the school to its Ashline site in 2013.
Earlier this year, a developer originally given consent by the diocesan trust to apply for planning permission to demolish the former school voiced his disappointment that the land had been put up for sale.
Woodhaven Developments Ltd had been in the process of applying for planning permission, which they subsequently secured, from Clare County Council to demolish the old school building with the consent of the diocese.
According to Larry Brennan of Woodhaven Developments Ltd, a deposit had been paid for the site last year. However, the diocese did not sign the contracts. Mr Brennan confirmed that Woodhaven no longer had an interest in acquiring the property.
Documents lodged with Clare County Council as part of Woodhaven’s application for planning permission outlined that the school building was targeted by vandals after it was vacated. Damage included 150 broken windows, kicked-in internal doors, graffiti, holes in the roof, copper piping and steel trusses removed and broken sanitary ware. Two separate fires have also taken place on the grounds. The site has been fenced off to restrict access.