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Permission denied for Clare business training complex

AN application to build a business training complex in rural north Clare has been refused planning permission, writes Owen Ryan.

The application made by Jo Irwin Training was for a building that would provide a space for business & management skills training and career/interview coaching purposes at Gleninagh, Ballyvaughan.

The building would have used an existing access road and an entrance through the grounds of the family dwelling house.

The application said that the training provided could be over a couple of days, at which time the service users would stay in Ballyvaughan and be brought by minibus to the training unit.

At other times when training was on a single day, it stated that three cars a day could travel to the development.

A planner’s report on the application said that while the Council encourages the provision of training centres “such facilities are more suitably located within rural towns or villages where opportunities for spin-off economic development are more likely to occur than if they were located in the countryside remote from public services”.

“It is considered that the proposal to construct a two-storey building on the seaward side of a scenic route within a heritage landscape, accessed via a private roadway where the junction with the regional road is considered substandard in its current form to accommodate the proposal, is not the optimal location for such a facility. It is therefore considered that the principle of development at this location is not acceptable.”

The report also pointed out that the proposed facility would be highly visible from the scenic route on the R477.

“The level of visibility is not considered acceptable when there are alternative options to locate the facility elsewhere. Refusal of permission is recommended.”

Furthermore, the report cast doubt on the suitability of the soil on site to treat and dispose effluent arising given the nature of the proposed development.

The proximity of the site to European sites, namely Galway Bay Complex SAC 0268 (90m to the east) and Blackhead Poulsallagh Complex SAC 0020 (55m to the south) meant appropriate assessment issues may arise, the report stated.

“Having regard to the information received the planning authority cannot conclude that the proposed development would not be likely to have a significant effect individually or in combination with other plans or projects, on a European site. Refusal of permission is therefore recommended.”

In conclusion the report added “Notwithstanding objectives to support rural enterprise, the principle of development of a training facility at the site is not acceptable having regard to the location of the site within a heritage landscape.

“It is considered that the interest of proper planning and sustainable development would be better served if such a facility was located within a nearby serviced settlement where existing vacant or derelict buildings could be repurposed or a new building better assimilated.”

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