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Eircom to appeal mast refusal with Council planners at odds

LOCAL authority planners were in conflict over a telecommunications company’s application to extend the height of a mast in Shannon.
While an initial planner’s report had recommended giving Eircom Limited planning permission to extend the height of a mast at the Eir Exchange in Tullyvarraga, a subsequent note to the planning file found this would be inappropriate and planning was then denied.
Eircom Limited has now appealed Clare County Council’s decision to An Bord Pleanála with a decision due by August 30.
A report signed by Ellen Carey on March 25 had recommended giving the green light, subject to a number of conditions.
However, a note to the file, signed by planners Garreth Ruane and Helen Quinn on April 1, had a different view.
The note states, “I refer to area planner’s report in which a grant of permission is recommended. I have inspected the subject site and surrounds and also note the further information response as received.
“Notwithstanding the further information response as received, I would have concerns with respect to the impact of the proposal on the amenities of the area (I note also that the planning authority recently refused a similar permission).”
The notes makes particular reference to the design and proximity of the mast structure relative to the existing apartment block, stating its concern about a negativ impact on the amenities of these occupiers.
“Whilst the site is used for utility/service purposes the proximity of the mast together with the increase in height as proposed is of concern,” it stated.
It noted that guidelines for planning authorities state that “only as a last resort” should free standing masts be located in a residential area or beside schools.
The note said that the proposal was not in keeping with the guidelines, and that the proposal “relates to a significant height increase of this square tower which would be dominant at this location”.
The subsequent Chief Executive’s Order denied planning permission and stated, “Having regard to height and design of the existing structure, the height increase as proposed under this application and the location in close proximity to a number of residential properties, it is considered that the proposed development would be contrary to both CDP8.44 of the Clare County Development and Telecommunications Antennae and Support Structures, Guidelines for Planning Authorities, 1996.
“The said structure would therefore seriously injure the residential and visual amenities of the area, would depreciate the value of properties in the vicinity and be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.”
There had been an objection to the proposal, which was signed by a number of people and it claimed the location was very inappropriate.
“The planned mast extension at Tullyvarraga Shannon Town Centre is within a few hundred meters of the Toddle Inn, which is a creche for very young children in Shannon, not to mention the library, shopping centre, restaurants and business, recreational park, apartments in Bru na Sionna and residential areas,” it stated.
The objection had also stated that “Shannon is a small town and it does not require this mast as it is already polluted and bombarded by the technology in place already.”

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.

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