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Residents of St Flannan’s Terrace have formed a group over fears about dereliction and haphazard development. Photograph by Eugene McCafferty

Ennis residents form group amid ‘haphazard development’ fears

ENNIS residents’ concerns over “haphazard development” and vacant homes at St Flannan’s Terrace have prompted calls for ‘Development and Design Guidelines’ to be drawn up for the area.

A newly-formed residents association of St Flannan’s Terrace have made the request for the area which was built in the early 1900s and has been designated Architectural Conservation Area (ACA) under the Clare County Development Plan.

Councillor Johnny Flynn at a meeting of the Ennis Municipal District urged his fellow councillors to support the residents in their call for guidelines to be drawn up under relevant planning legislation.

“The procedure for such guidelines is laid out in Section 84 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended) together with advice on public consultation, enforcement etc,” he pointed out.

The terrace constitutes 46 houses, six of which are unoccupied. “They are quite concerned about haphazard development occurring and some vacancy,” he said. He continued that because the terrace is an ACA design guidelines should be put in place to ensure “good practice” is carried out during any development of the homes which date back to the turn of the last century.

“This would give direction to residents and developers as to what is appropriate there,” he said.

A petition calling for development and design guidelines has been signed by 27 of the households in St Flannan’s Terrace the meeting heard.

“This was a huge response,” said Councillor Flynn, “They all want to live in harmony with each other and to allow tasteful development. It is important that guidelines are developed with information on what is acceptable and that is important in an ACA.” The motion was seconded by Councillor Paul Murphy.

Councillor Mary Howard voiced her support, but questioned would this impinge on a property owners’ ability to renovate or extend their homes.

Councillor Flynn stated that the council has already designated St Flannan’s Terrace an ACA. “There is no restriction on the development of them, and the majority have been sensitively redeveloped. This is about respecting the context of the area and giving guidelines of what is acceptable.”

Helen Quinn, A/Senior Planner, responded to the motion, “Section 84 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended) provides powers to Planning Authorities not only to conserve the character of certain areas but also to require owners and occupiers of properties to conform to a planning scheme.

A designation of an Area of Special Planning Control (ASPC) as per Section 84 would generally only be suitable in very particular circumstance and while the architectural value of St. Flannans Terrace ACA is quite significant this designation has not to date been considered as warranted. 

“It is also important to recognise that there is significant policy support for Architectural Conservation Areas in the Draft Clare County Development Plan 2023-2029 which seeks to protect ACAs from inappropriate developments and to enhance the character of the area. In particular CDP 13.1 and CDP 16.5.  

“However, given the nature of this request I will commit to the further consideration of the suitability of this ACA for designation as an Area of Special Planning Control(ASPC) and I will engage with the Architectural Conservation Officer with regard to same.”

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