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Knockanean school plans will alleviate traffic problems say OPW

THE Office of Public Works has insisted that plans to re-develop Knockanean National School will alleviate traffic problems outside of the school after concerns about the proposal were raised by the local authority.
The Office of Public Works (OPW) submitted a planning application for the re-development of Knockanean National School earlier this year.
The plans include the construction of eight new classrooms, with an existing four-classroom block retained and integrated into the new build. Clare County Council sought further information on the new plans, and according to the response the OPW have insisted that just renovating the existing school would not “help in any way in alleviating the traffic ad hoc parking on the main public road”.
It points out that the school currently has 11 classrooms and the proposal will result in just one additional classroom. “By moving the location of the building back further in to the site it creates space at the front and in doing so alleviates the traffic problems outside the school on the public road, and this is enhanced by the managing of the traffic flow inside the school grounds.” Measures proposed include bollards outside the school wall at the roadside and drop offs / collection within the school ground.
The council had advised the school that “an increase in pupil numbers would not be appropriate in this instance and that any proposed development should comprise of a qualitative improvement of facilities only.”
However the further information response states that the school is in a rural area with pupils attending predominantly from Knockanean, adjoining townlands and surrounding area. It adds that the increase in pupil numbers is in line with the Department of Education’s guidance. “With this proposal there would be no requirement for parking on the public road as the one way system of drop off and collection being provided would alleviate the traffic congestion and residential amenity issues.”
The response argues, “With qualitative approvals only the traffic congestion would remain in the roadside areas but with the extension and management of vehicles the problem would be alleviated.”
If given the go-ahead the new development will involve demolishing the existing boundary walls, single storey six-classroom school building of 685sqm, open shed and prefabricated classroom building.
The existing four-classroom block constructed in 2011 with a gross floor area of 370sqm will be retained and integrated into the new school. The proposed new development consists of new two-storey primary school building.
The new accommodation will consist of eight new classrooms, a General Purpose Room and ancillary accommodation. In addition, site works will include the replacement of the existing gated entrance with two new gated vehicular and two new separate pedestrian entrance off the Knockanean Road boundary, serving 24 on-site car parking spaces and associated set down areas, pedestrian pathways, together with two ball courts, play areas, a bin store, a bicycle shelter, gas tank enclosure, three flagpoles, connection to existing foul drainage treatment system, separate surface water drainage, signage, landscaping and all associated site works on an overall site area of 1.34 hectares. The building will be set back from the Knockanean Road.
According to a report compiled for the OPW lodged with Clare County Council the “temporary decanting” of the existing school to a new location off site will be necessary during the period of construction.
The proposed new building will have a gross floor area of 1,720sqm and with the retained existing building this will give a total of 2090sqm. A traffic management report submitted to the planning authority by DBFL consulting engineers commissioned by the OPW concluded that “there are no significant traffic or transportation related reasons that should prevent the granting of planning permission for the proposed development.”

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