PLANS for the future development of Éire Óg GAA Club are looking bright, with An Bord Pleanála upholding a decision to grant planning permission for the erection of floodlights on the club’s all-weather pitch.
The Clonroadmore-based club has been given approval for the installation of four 1,000 watt flat glass floodlights to light the pitch, with one floodlight to be erected on each of four existing 12m-high steel columns.
Permission had been granted for the development by Ennis Town Council, subject to three conditions. However, a third party appeal was lodged with An Bord Pleanála by Enzo and Nuala D’Auria of Clonroadmore against the decision of the local authority.
Among the grounds for appeal, the couple insisted the development would lead to a greater intensification of use. They argued there would be traffic safety implications, noise, nuisance and their property would experience light spillage.
Responding to the appeal, the club stated the floodlights are to facilitate winter training and games. It was accepted by the club that a certain intensification of use will occur, given that it is currently not possible to use the pitch in the evening during winter months “but this intensification is acceptable having regard to all relevant standards and reasonable hours of operation”. The club also pointed out the increase in hours of use is limited by condition and will not interfere with residential amenities or disturb sleep.
In a report to An Bord Pleanála, inspector Louise Kiernan, in addressing the issue of light on the appellants’ property, stated, “The appellants consider that being the oldest established property, they are entitled to no surface illuminant on any of their property. However, I note the suburban location of the site and the appellant’s property and, as such, I consider it reasonable that development will occur in such a location over time.
“While I do not consider that the appellant is entitled to no surface illuminant whatsoever on their property, I do however consider that they are entitled to an acceptable level of illumination, only which will not interfere unacceptably on their existing level of residential amenity. Such illumination of their property must be within the recommended limits in order to adequately protect their residential amenity.”
Taking note of a report prepared on behalf of Éire Óg by James Molloy, a member of the Institution of Lighting Professionals, the inspector commented, “While I accept that there will be light spillage onto the appellants’ adjoining property, I note that same falls within the recommended acceptable limits during its hours of operation and I therefore consider its impact on residential amenity is acceptable.”
The inspector also found that a report of the existing and likely effects of noise on the appellants’ garden and home is unwarranted.
“I accept that as a result of the installation of the floodlights that the hours of use of the all-weather facility will increase in winter months. However, I consider that this can be adequately controlled by setting a curfew in relation to the hours of use,” she stated.
She recommended that a similar condition to that placed by An Bord Pleanála, in granting permission for the club’s hurling wall, be put in place limiting use to between 9am and 9pm Monday, to Friday and 10am to 6pm, Saturday and Sunday. Ms Kiernan found the proposed development acceptable in terms of traffic safety.
She recommending granting of permission subject to conditions, concluding, “Taking account of the planning history pertaining to this site, I consider the development acceptable and I do not consider that subject to the recommended conditions that the proposed development will result in the creation of a traffic hazard or have a negative impact on visual or residential amenity.”
The recommendations of the inspector’s report were upheld by the board, who decided to grant permission, subject to four conditions.
The board’s direction stated that permission was granted, “having regard to the open space zoning objective for this site as set out in the Ennis and Environs Development Plan 2008 – 2014, the established use of the site as a recreational sports ground and to the planning history of the site, it is considered that subject to compliance with conditions, the proposed development would not seriously injure the amenities of the area or of residential property in the vicinity and would be acceptable in terms of traffic safety and convenience.
“The proposed development would therefore be in accordance with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.”
The conditions include that the lighting fixtures be designed, orientated and maintained at a level so light spillage outside the boundaries would not exceed a specified level. The development is also conditional on the floodlighting being positioned to avoid glare on the public road and adjacent properties and that the lights not be used after 9pm on any day.