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In a letter sent to the developer on January 19, planners sought Further Information (FI) on nine aspects of the plans.

Developer rejects concerns over ‘piecemeal’ housing in Tulla

DEVELOPERS looking to build 36 new homes on a high-profile site in Tulla have moved to address concerns raised by planners over “piecemeal development”. 

In May, Woodhaven Developments lodged plans for the estate on a prominent greenfield site, close to Glebe House on Church Road. During the public consultation phase, four submissions were made. These expressed concerns over the proposed boundary of the estate, as well as potential pedestrian access onto lands belonging to a third party. 

On foot of these submissions, as well as separate concerns of their own, planners requested Further Information (FI) from Woodhaven. They sought more details on the proposed connectivity between the site and the town’s Main Street.

Planners expressed concerns that the proposed development might not comply with site zoning. While the site is zoned for residential development, there is a specific site objective that connectivity is created into the town centre.

The FI request also asked Woodhaven to “satisfactorily demonstrate ownership of all lands within the red line boundary of the proposed site, with particular reference to the northern area of the site, where the boundary includes part of the adjoining laneway”. 

Revised site layout plans were requested, amid concerns over “piecemeal development” at the site. At the request of the Developments Assessment Unit (DAU) of the Department of Housing, an Archaeological Impact Assessment was also requested.

Responding to these queries, Woodhaven recently submitted a detailed FI response, including a new Civil Engineering Infrastructure Report and some revised designs. 

In its reply to the Council, Woodhaven rejected concerns that the proposed estate would be in any way disconnected from future development, or from the town centre. The company noted that the current plans were submitted as part of a master plan for the site and the surrounding zoned lands”.

The company pointed out that the site has been zoned since 2017, while other sites in the village have been de-zoned”.

The response from Woodhaven also affirmed that, the master plan demonstrated how the lands in the plan can be developed in the future in a holistic and sustainable manner having regard to existing site characteristics and environmental factors. It focused on accommodating a defined vision for the lands which has evolved from an understanding of the place, its history and the people that have shaped it”. 

Woodhaven outlined that the master plan aims to create a vibrant neighbourhood with mixed tenure. The company added that the layout proposed two future pedestrian/cycle access and egress points linking to the existing laneway to Main Street. 

Revised drawings have also been submitted by Woodhaven to address concerns about the proposed estates layout. Existing mature trees on the site have been incorporated into the open space areas in the designs, and some changes have been made to the proposed vehicle turning area and off-street parking in a section of the development. 

The company added that it will incorporate connectivity to adjoining zoned lands by means of temporary fencing”. It notes that, this does not bestow any right on Woodhaven Development Ltd or future occupiers access to adjoining lands without the consent of owners or any requirements resulting from a future by [sic] planning application”. 

A new Civil Engineering Infrastructure Report has also been supplied in response to plannersquestions about proposed alterations to ground levels, as well as the drainage of surface water. 

In respect of the recommendations of the Development Applications Unit (DAU), Woodhaven has insisted that concerns over potential archaeological remains are best addressed by imposing a condition as part of a grant of planning permission.

The company contended that the requirement for an archaeological assessment, at this point, was made by the DAU with “no additional screening or justification to support their request”.

It asserted that there is no requirement to carry out archaeological works until four weeks prior to commencement and said it has engaged an archaeologist who has applied for the requisite licences. 

Woodhaven robustly asserted that is fully aware of the importance of the archaeological heritage and has always complied fully and thoroughly with all Council and DAU requirements in respect of our heritage where such requirements have arisen”.

The company has asked that, if granted planning permission, the matter be addressed by the imposition of appropriate conditions. 

The FI response concluded by requesting permission for the development be granted as there is a large demand for housing in the Tulla and general east Clare area”. 

Upon receipt of the new documentation from Woodhaven, Clare County Council has indicated it is likely to make a decision on the application on October 27. 

About Fiona McGarry

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