PLANS for a mixed-use development at Bank Place, put on hold following the collapse of the property boom, have been refused an extension of the period of planning permission by Ennis Town Council.
Hegarty Brothers and Co Limited applied to Ennis Town Council to extend the appropriate period of planning permission by five years for the development at the site in an area of Architectural Conservation adjoining Ennis Post Office. Planning permission had been originally granted to Osprey Property Ltd, subject to 25 conditions for the re-development of their site at Bank Place in June 2007. The property was bought by tender by Hegarty Brothers in 2008.
The permission granted allowed for the demolition of the existing office/telephone exchange and outbuildings. Permission was also granted for the construction of nine two-bedroom apartments and two three-bedroom apartments, one office unit and one retail unit as well as associated site works and services.
In their application for extension, Hegarty Brothers projected a start date for the development in November 2015, allowing 18 months for the construction with a projected completion date of June 24, 2017.
According to the application, “Planning permission was granted to Osprey Ltd for the proposed redevelopment of their site (Eircom) at Bank Place, Ennis on June 6, 2007, at the height of the property boom in Ireland. In early 2008, the property was bought by tender by Hegarty Brothers & Co Ltd with every intention of proceeding with the construction. However, by September 2008, it was clear that a major disruption in the property boom was imminent and the project was put on hold.
“Since September 2008, the fundamentals for property development have steadily declined in the country and it is clear that it will be a number of years before the climate for development such as that at Bank Place will improve.”
The planners’ report outlined the development is in keeping with ministerial guidelines for the apartment standards stating that the nature of the development as permitted is of a “relatively high standard”. However, the planner also noted that that it falls within flood zone A and B stating, “The nature of the development as permitted is considered to be a highly vulnerable development in terms of flood risk”.
In refusing permission, the planning authority stated that extending the period of the grant of planning was not in accordance with section 42 of the Planning and Development Acts having regard to the ministerial guidelines regarding the planning system and flood-risk management guidelines for local authorities.
“As such, it is considered that the proposal to extend the appropriate period would be inconsistent with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area having regard to the guidelines issued by the minister under Section 28,” the planning authority stated.