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The planning appeals board is considering an appeal after conditional permission was given for large housing estate in Tuamgraney.

Developers appeal refusal of Ennis social homes scheme

AN APPEAL has been lodged against the Council’s refusal of a small-scale social housing development, proposed for a site on the Limerick Road in Ennis. 

The plans for five additional homes at Hogan’s Place, which would be operated by the Cluid Housing Association, were lodged in October by Kilshane Investments Limited. 

Local authority planners turned down the plans in November, stating that the homes would encroach into existing public open space and would contravene conditions set out when permission was granted for the existing homes at the site. They said the additional housing would “seriously injure the amenities of the dwellings” there.

Planners also found that the site is located in an area of high flooding risk, where homes are classed as “high vulnerable developments”. They said that notwithstanding a Flood Risk Assessment submitted with the planning application, the proposed development would be contrary to government guidelines on flood management. 

An appeal to An Bord Pleanála has just been lodged outlining that Kilshane Investments proposes to add an extra five homes to an existing housing scheme. That was developed for Cluid, and the additional homes would increase the number of units on the site to 29. 

The appeal document outlines the grounds for the proposed five additional homes, saying that Cluid has identified an additional social housing need in Ennis.

It adds that the County Development Plan was carefully reviewed before the planning application was made and a that Flood Risk Assessment was supplied.

The appeal document acknowledges the flood risk, but states that the proposed development would benefit from measures introduced by the Ennis South Flood Relief Scheme and an increased overflow culvert at the St Flannan’s College Swallow Hole.

It adds that surface water management systems would be put in place and the layout of the homes would minimise flood risk. The appeal also argues that, according to updated maps, the site is no longer in the higher risk category, due to the benefits of the Ennis South Flood Relief Scheme.

In respect of concerns over open space, the appeal argues that while that would be reduced, the level of provision would still still be higher than the minimum requirement set out by the Council. It adds that the intensification of housing density at Hogan Place would be “by no means excessive” and would be compliant with “good development standards”. 

The appeal concludes by urging An Bord Pleanála to reverse the local authority’s planning decision. 

While the Council was considering the application, five submissions were received, including one from the Abbeycourt/Abbeyville Residents’ Association. The objection document voiced concern that the site in question had been earmarked as a green space and argued that it should be left as such.

“We appreciate we are in a time of a housing crisis, but residents have a right to enjoy their properties and the area they live in,” the submission stated.

“The removal or reduction of those green spaces will mean that the residents of this development will have no area for their children to play in.”

The objection also raised concerns over access into their estate, saying: “We also strongly object to any access onto Abbeycourt Estate. There are over 170 homes between Abbeycourt & Abbeyville. The existing green areas in the estate are already over populated. We are seeking the extinguishment of the pedestrian access onto Abbeycourt.” 

Other individual objections from residents of the area raised concerns about possible overlooking of their homes, as well as the loss of green space in the area. 

An Bord Pleanála has indicated that a decision on Kilshane Investment’s appeal is likely on May 5. 

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