CLARE County Council has put plans for a large housing development in Lahinch on hold amid concerns about its impact on local infrastructure.
The local authority has sought further information from developer Victoria Cross Limited which applied for planning permission to Clare County Council to construct 28 new houses at Station Road, Lahinch.
The proposed development would consist of two two-storey dwelling houses, eight dormer dwelling houses and 17 single storey dwelling houses
In its request for further information, the local planning authority has requested the company to submit a detailed hydrological assessment of the catchment area by a suitably qualified hydrologist.
Having regard to the pattern of surface and ground water drainage on site and within the vicinity of the site, the planning authority isn’t satisfied that the description of the hydrological aspects of the site and surroundings set out in the Natura Impact Statement is accurate.
The authority requested a revised NIS with accurate current information regarding the status of the Lahinch waste water treatment plant.
It sought submission of a pre-connection enquiry to Irish Water in respect of water and wastewater connections and confirmation from the national utility whether a connection to their infrastructure is feasible.
The authority considered the car turning bays outside the cul-de-sacs should be designed to accommodate a refuse vehicle as per the recommendations for site development works.
While open space is generally considered satisfactory, the authority stated portions will not be suitable for informal kick-about space, having regard to the severe slope on same.
The authority also requested an archaeological impact assessment report for the site prepared by a suitably qualified archaeologist.
Councillor Shane Talty recently stated there is a pent-up demand for the provision of permanent dwellings for young families in Lahinch.
If planning permission is granted, Councillor Talty hopes these new houses will be priced in a way that ordinary working families can afford them so they can contribute to the local economy throughout the year and provide children for the local schools.
While welcoming the continued development of Lahinch, Martin Vaughan, Vaughan Lodge, stated it is particularly important that lands within the village are properly planned and developed.
Mr Vaughan stated ribbon development has taken place all around the village, which has not served to benefit permanent village life and the sustainability of Lahinch as a vibrant place with an active all year-round population.
He pointed out the proposed site is prone to flooding and suffers from poor maintenance of an ancient land drain running through this site.
“There is a chronic shortage of permanent dwelling houses for sale and rent in Lahinch,” he said.
“I would urge the planners to reserve the majority of the proposed houses for permanent habitation.
“Much of the recent housing in Lahinch has been built to standards suitable only for temporary occupation in summer months.
“There is an existing demand for full calendar year rental, which could be stipulated in conditions.
“The sustainability of Lahinch as an active village is dependant on having a cohort of full-time residents.”
In a submission to the planning authority, Dr Diarmuid O’Grada, a Dublin-based planning consultant, stated he understood that the Lahinch sewage treatment system is already inadequate and that the effluent is causing great concern for public health.
“In such circumstances any increased loading would be contrary to public health. We invite the council to find the current proposal is premature pending the upgrading of the sewage treatment capacity.
“We understand that Lahinch has a notable deficit in the piped water system. We need to know when this deficit will be made good before any scheme of this scale is allowed.”
John and Ita Coughlan, Station Road, Lahinch, outlined in their submission the main entrance location is proposed to be located directly across from their existing driveway.
“The volume of traffic entering and existing the proposed housing estate will not only be a safety issue for us running a guest house during peak season, it will also bring unwelcome noise and light pollution to our doorstep.
“Due to the elevation of our site and the lower level of the proposed housing estate entrance, every vehicle exiting the estate with headlights on will create unwanted light pollution directly into our home.
“Incidentally, our home is the only one within the stretch of the proposed site on Station Road, which is a house of full time residents.
“We will be living with these problems 365 days a year, unlike the majority of the homes on the road,” they stated.
“We would insist that if this development is granted planning permission that it is a staggered build with a smaller number of houses being completed before starting the next block to ensure we are not left looking at an unfinished site if the inevitable happens.”
by Dan Danaher