PLANS to build 150 new homes in Gort were refused this week by An Bord Pleanála. Galway County Council had refused planning permission to Daleoak Developments Ltd for 26 houses and two apartments and for outline permission for a further 122 houses at Ballyhugh. This was appealed by the company to An Bord Pleanála, who recently published its decision to turn down the appeal.
The board decided to uphold the council’s decision based on the location of the site on the edge of the town and “the absence of appropriate footpaths and poor pedestrian links”.
It also took into account the existing curvature of the road and location of the site in proximity to the area.
The council had cited six reasons for its refusal in May last year but in the appeal by James O’Donnell, Planning Consultancy Services for Daleoak Developments Ltd, these were refuted.
An Bord Pleanála noted that revised layout options submitted as part of the appeal consist of a reduced scale development of 86 dwellings, with full permission for 28 and outline permission for 58 and a crèche facility.
The inspector’s report concluded that “residential development of the scale proposed in this edge of town location, with poor pedestrian linkages to the town centre, would generate a living environment of low amenity value and set an undesirable precedent in the area characterised by an absence of appropriate pedestrian links, unsatisfactory access and linkages and would be premature pending the provision of appropriate pedestrian linkages with the town centre”.
Also, taking account of the location of the proposed access options in relation to the existing curvature of the road and in proximity to a bend, the inspector said the board was “not satisfied that the proposed development would not endanger public safety by reason of traffic hazard and obstruction of road users”.
Having regard to the poor drainage characteristics in parts of the site, the inspector noted that the board was not satisfied that the proposed development would not have an adverse impact on lands outside the site by means of increased flood risk. It therefore considered the proposed development would “seriously injure the amenities of the area and of property in the vicinity”.
The inspector said these three points meant the development would be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.
Flood risk was not one of the reasons cited by the board in its decision but the direction noted “the board shared the inspector’s concerns regarding the necessity for flood risk assessment but having regard to the substantive reasons for refusal, considered that this would constitute a new issue in the context of the appeal and decided not to pursue this matter further”.