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St Patricks Comprehensive school, Shannon. Photograph by John Kelly.

Major extension for Shannon school

PLANNING permission has been granted to St Patrick’s Comprehensive School, Shannon for a major extension.

The extension is to be two storeys in size, with a gross floor area of 2,616m2.

It is to accommodate a special needs unit, general purpose area, engineering room, lecture room, art room, science laboratory, music room, home economics room, multimedia room and business/computers room, while there will other site works, including a new site entrance, car parking and set-down areas, as well as a hard court and hurling wall area.

Clare County Council had sought additional information regarding a number of aspects of the development, including the drop-off areas, road safety, flood risk and the removal of trees.

The applicants submitted the additional information sought and the planning authorities expressed satisfaction with the replies.

With regard to the removal of the trees, the planning report states, “The existing tree line is to be removed as part of the improved traffic management arrangements to accommodate the bus set-down area and the vehicular set-down area within the site. As a compensating measure, a new landscaped plaza is proposed. Whilst the loss of these trees is unfortunate, having regard to the scale of development as required and the landscaping proposals for the remainder of the site, it is considered that same could be accommodated.”
The planner ultimately felt the development should get the green light.

“I am satisfied with regard to the applicant’s response to the above and there are no outstanding issues regarding this development. A grant of permission is therefore recommended, subject to conditions regarding finishes and construction management. It is also considered reasonable to limit further car parking on site and to provide for sheltered cycling stands in the interests of sustainable transport.”

Councillor PJ Ryan is a member of the school’s board of management and he said he was pleased with the decision.

“It’s progress and it’s going to increase secondary capacity in Shannon.”

He said there are currently issues with providing places in the school for applicants.

“They don’t have enough places for the amount who apply for places and it’s the same every year; they’re always short of places for students. It’ll also increase the facilities there. It’s not fully decided what will be going into some of the new rooms but there will be new IT facilities.”

Children from outside the school’s regular catchment area might also benefit, he claimed.

“It’ll improve the amount of students that can be taken from the catchment area, which includes Shannon, Newmarket-on-Fergus, Sixmilebridge and Cratloe. It might also help the situation around Meelick. Children from there normally go to schools in Limerick but they’ve been under serious pressure in recent years and now Shannon might be able to facilitate some of them.”

It is believed that the extension will cost several hundred thousand euro, while the Department of Education have promised support for it.

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