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Anger over development labelled ‘mini Manhattan’

RESIDENTS of an Ennis retirement village are “horrified” over plans for a housing development which has been labelled by one objector as a “Mini-Manhattan”.
Leadlane (Drumbiggle) Ltd have lodged a planning application for the development on lands to the west of Pairc na Coille Retirement village. The plans have been the subject of dozens of submissions, with objectors also creating a YouTube video highlighting concerns for nearby wildlife in an area the retirement village residents dubbed “our nature reserve”.
A decision on the planning application is currently on hold as Clare County Council await a response to a request for further information from the developers.
The application seeks permission to construct 58 residential units comprising 10 four-bed houses, 26 three-bed houses and 22 duplex units comprising 11 two-bed ground floor apartment units with 11 three-bed house units above.
Permission has also been sought to alter and upgrade the existing access road to provide additional footpath, cycle paths and raised traffic tables.
The proposed development forms part of an overall masterplan for the area. According to a planning report submitted by the developers, the proposal is “focused on the creation of a high-quality residential environment in terms of overall design and layout, a mixture of tenure types and unit sizes and the provision of high quality landscaped public open spaces.”
They add the scheme has been designed “in cognisance of the established residential properties in adjacent housing estates”.
The report asserts the residential amenity of residents within the development and those neighbouring the site “will not be negatively impacted by this proposal” with the plans aiming to “improve the visual amenity” of the area.
However an objection signed by a number of residents of Pairc na Coille has said the plans will have “a devastating effect on this area”, with concerns about noise and traffic.
The submission continues, “It would wipe out what we call our nature reserve which contains many birds, foxes and badgers. This tranquillity and love of nature is enjoyed by all.”
Another submission states residents of the retirement village are “horrified at the prospect of the possibility of dust and rock breaking noise, making their lives hell over the next few years”.
The proposed height of the duplex has been criticised with concerns it could “turn this site into a Mini-Manhattan”.
As well as objections from those living in Pairce na Coille, residents of Cahercalla Drive and Willsgrove have also stated their opposition to the plans. A submission on behalf of the Cahercalla Drive Residents Association insists the plans are “totally out of kilter with the area”.
In a request for further information the local authority has raised concerns about the development’s potential effect on the protected Lesser Horseshoe bat.
The developers have been asked for a tree survey and a revised Natura Impact Statement demonstrating the proposal’s compliance with a County Development Plan objective aimed at protecting the rare bat species.
Concern has also been raised about the design and layout of the open space highlighting “poor connectivity” between these areas and the dwellings.
A revised site layout plan has been sought ensuring a minimum of 15% of the overall site comprises open space.
The planning authority also outlined “serious concerns” about a proposed access link to Willsgrove, seeking revised drawings of how the planned pedestrian and cyclist link would integrate with the existing pedestrian and road infrastructure in the adjacent estate.

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