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Local businesses lodge appeals to Supermac’s €10m motorway plaza plans

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A QUESTION mark has been thrown over plans by Supermac’s to construct a €10m Barack Obama-style motorway plaza outside Ennis off the M18 motorway.
Last month, Clare County Council granted planning permission to Supermac’s MD, Pat McDonagh for the development in a long running planning saga that has been going on for six years.
The fast food business lodged its first plan in December 2014 and now in response to the latest plan, three appeals have been lodged against the proposal by local businesses with An Bord Pleanála.
Those to lodge appeals include the operator of the four-star hotel in Ennis, the Old Ground, Duesbury Ltd and four other businesses in one appeal along with appeals by Maxol Ltd and long-time opponent of the plan and local landowner, Shane Brigdale.
Already, the appeals board has refused planning permission for a previous Supermac’s plaza off the M18 near Ennis necessitating revised plans to be lodged.
In the Old Ground-led objection, consultant, Mandy Coleman stated that her clients have serious concerns regarding the proposed development with respect to excessive scale which the objection argues “will have a significant negative impact” on Ennis, Clarecastle and Crusheen.
The objection by the five businesses argue that the planned scheme will act as a “counter attraction” to Ennis and Clarecastle and “have a detrimental impact on the vitality and viability of those centres”.
The site has been zoned by Clare County Council for an off-line motorway service area (MSA) in the County Development Plan.
However, Ms Coleman states that the previous grounds for refusal put forward by the appeals board still stand – that the site has not been identified in the NRA Service Area Policy as being suitable for an off-line MSA. Ms Coleman argues that the proposal “will undoubtedly be a significant attraction to locals”.
The objection states that there is no other facility in Ennis with the extensive food offering provided under the one roof that is being proposed in the development. The objection further states that the planned scheme “would be quite intrusive into this rural undeveloped area”.
Shane Brigdale has successfully opposed the Supermac’s plan at the appeals board previously. In his objection against the new plan, Mr Brigdale claims to have a right of way across the site which he uses on a daily basis to access his lands. He claims that the proposal will effectively sterilise his lands for future development. The objection lodged on behalf of Mr Brigdale states that the proposal from a planning perspective “is totally unacceptable”. The objection states: “It will damage the town of Ennis at a time of unprecedented instability for businesses.”
When planning was granted for the project last month, MD of Supermac’s, Pat McDonagh said, “I believe that it will be very good for Clare and for Ennis and good for employment in that area.”
The plan will provide around 100 jobs and Mr McDonagh said, “It is a win-win situation.”
A decision is due on the plan in May.
By Gordon Deegan

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