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Smithstown planning decision appealed

A DECISION made by Clare County Council in relation to a planning application at Smithstown has been appealed to An Bord Pleanála.
Greenband Investments had sought permission for a mixed-use development that would include a number of retail units and a neighbourhood centre, a discount foodstore, motor showroom, business centre and medical centre.
The neighbourhood centre would have a number of retail outlets but planners refused permission for this aspect of the development earlier this year.
In the appeal to An Bord Pleanála, Greenband gave a number of reasons why the neighbourhood centre should be allowed to go ahead.
“While the council notes that the uses proposed within the neighbourhood centre are considered appropriate, they assert that the centre would have an adverse impact on the vitality and viability of the town centre. The planning official’s report notes that ‘while the uses as proposed within the neighbourhood centre area considered appropriate uses for a neighbourhood centre, the location of this neighbourhood centre in such proximity to Shannon Town Centre is not acceptable’.”
“We would like to bring to the board’s attention policy RT4 neighbourhood centres of the South Clare Local Area Plan 2009 that states that these ‘will generally be acceptable outside the defined town centre areas’.
“This is an integral element of the proposed development and is supported by the provisions of both the original and final masterplan and by policy RT4 of the South Clare Local Area Plan. It is difficult to reconcile the council’s concerns regarding the proximity of the neighbourhood centre to the town centre having regard to this objective.”
The type of services that would be available at the neighbourhood centre wouldn’t conflict with the town centre it added.
“The mix of units proposed include for example hairdressers, bookies, launderette, butcher, small convenience store and so on, all of which you would expect to be located within a neighbourhood centre.
“These are all lower order retail uses, which you would not generally encourage or locate in primary shopping areas. At further information stage, the applicant amended the proposed retail units in the neighbourhood centre to further allay the council’s concerns.
“The units were specifically labelled with uses that would traditionally be located within a neighbourhood centre including betting office,
launderette, video store.
The area allocated to café/restaurant was reduced and offices introduced at first floor level.”
The appeal to An Bord Pleanála also requests that a condition imposed by council planners that a pedestrian walkway be provided in front of the proposed medical centre instead of parking, be waived.
Another appeal has been made to An Bord Pleanála by Patrick and Ann McAllen.
They also objected to Clare County Council prior to the planner’s decision, expressing complete opposition to the proposal. “Our home, which is conveniently omitted from the site layout plans, is a private domestic dwelling, and therefore, a commercial development of this size at the rear of our home is unsuitable and totally unacceptable. If this area is to be totally commercialised, private dwellings can no longer exist here in a commercial jungle.”

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