RESIDENTS of Tulla have been commended for highlighting issues of concern with a proposed social housing development which has just secured permission for a site at Doonaun on the outskirts of the village.
The 25-home development, represents an investment of around €6 million, and was approved at this month’s meeting of Clare County Council. The proposals were the subject of 17 local objections – one of which included a petition signed by 45 local residents. Speaking to The Champion, Councillor Joe Cooney paid tribute to the efforts of the residents to work with elected representatives on identifying issues and said he believed these had now been addressed.
“I am aware that residents had concerns and I met with them to hear their views,” Councillor Cooney said. “I would like to compliment residents on making their views known so that we, as local representatives, could refer these back to the local authority and have them addressed.”
Among the issues raised was the capacity of infrastructure to cater for the development, particularly in light of a number of other projects due to come on stream in Tulla. In response, Councillor Cooney said he was confident that existing services could cope: “The sewage treatment plant in Tulla was upgraded ten years ago. A fantastic job was done and there is a pumping system in place which the County Council has assured us provides sufficient capacity. In relation to water services, I have met Irish Water representatives who have made a number of important upgrades on the water mains and addressed issues including leaks. Furthermore, I have been assured that, in the event of drought, a pumping station in Kilkishen can be used to serve Tulla and take the pressure off the existing supply coming from Broadford.”
Other concerns relating to storm water will be addressed, Councillor Cooney said, through a number of measures. “Funding has been sought for a survey in relation to the possible downstream issues. An assurance has been given that that funding is securely ring-fenced. In addition, an attenuation tank will be going in on-site to address downstream issues. I am aware that landowners upstream have also raised concerns and have received an assurance from CEO Pat Dowling that special attention will be given to any risk there. I’m happy with that commitment.”
Councillor Cooney noted that provision for six Electric Vehicle (EV) chargers had been made, in response to submissions, and that an extra eight parking spaces had been incorporated into the plans. On the issue of the density of the development, he noted that it was the Department of Housing that had recommended an increase: “Originally, Clare County Council had planned for 22 homes, but the Department recommended that 25 be built. The local authority is happy that this number is in line with the County Development Plan.”
One of the issues that generated the greatest controversy, Councillor Cooney noted was provision in the plans for a pedestrian walkway linking the new development to the existing O’Reilly Park: “I heard what residents had to say and I was very concerned myself about this. That walkway has now been removed from the plans, it won’t go ahead. Instead, the footpath will run along the public road.”
Councillor Cooney added that the demand for social housing in Tulla and its hinterland was significant: “There are lots of people looking for support with housing in Tulla and its catchment area. We are all well aware that homes are needed by many local people.”
At the April meeting of Clare County Council, the plans were proposed by Killaloe Municipal District Chairperson, Councillor Pat Burke and seconded by Councillor Tony O’Brien.
Councillor Pat Hayes voted against the plans expressing his opposition to the development on the grounds of water and sewage service deficiencies and the risk of flooding to properties near the site.
Clare County Council has said it intends to launch the tendering process in the coming weeks. “Due to Covid-19 restrictions on construction works we are unable to give an indicative construction commencement date at this time,” a spokesperson said. “We are hopeful that construction can commence on this site before year end however the time lines are dependent on the public health restrictions to manage Covid-19.”