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Locals call halt to work on Lough Derg Traveller house

PLANS for the refurbishment of a local-authority dwelling on the shores of Lough Derg have been delayed once again following concerns by local residents.

North Tipperary County Council officials were hoping to secure approval for a wide range of works to a detached house it purchased last year for €440,000 at Cullenagh, Ballina, Killaloe to accommodate a local Traveller family at a recent meeting.
However, the local authority’s plans, which were advertised under the Part Eight process, were deferred until the November council meeting following concerns expressed by local county councillors.
Councillor Phyl Bugler was supported by Councillor Jonathan Meaney in her request for clarification on a number of issues relating to the original planning permission and the planned alterations to the fire damaged.
The Part Eight process is very similar to a planning application without an appeal mechanism to An Bord Pleanála. It now seems unlikely that the proposed alterations will be completed before Christmas to facilitate the O’Reilly family, who have been living on the side of Quay Road, a short distance away for almost a decade.
Their solicitor, Tony O’Malley had hoped the dwelling would be ready for occupation before Christmas and told The Clare Champion recently he would be writing to the council for a projected timescale.
It also remains to be seen if the council executive will be able to fully address the concerns of local councillors and residents at its November meeting.
The proposed work to the damaged house following a fire, which investigating gardaí have described as “suspicious”, includes roof replacement, internal refurbishment, creation of a new entrance demolition of the existing garage and associated site works.
Under the Part Eight process, council officials submitted drawings and documentation to the planning authority on August 4 last and it plans to proceed, subject to six conditions.
These conditions include a stipulation that the entrance on the northern boundary will be closed following construction of the entrance from the public road.
Before the start of the development, details of the proposed shed have to be submitted to the planning authority for written agreement.
According to a copy of a document obtained by The Clare Champion, 16 different issues were raised by local residents in eight separate submissions. No submissions were received from prescribed bodies while the area engineer and water services engineer didn’t voice any objections subject to conditions.
The submissions alleged that the addition of a bedroom would put extra strain on the drainage system and amenities serving surrounding properties.
They stated that no development should take place until the issue of the “disputed right of way” serving the existing entrance has been resolved and until this entrance was closed.
They pointed out that the existing garage partly extended outside the site onto adjoining private property while the well on the land immediately to the north had “become polluted”.
“There is no justification for a second entrance onto the main road, which will result in the creation of a traffic hazard. The proposed hard-standing area is excessive in area and should not be used for caravans.
“The house constructed is not in compliance with building regulations. Boundary walls are not in compliance with conditions of the original permission. Surface water run-off may affect the adjoining property due to the proposed raising of ground levels at the front and side of the site and proposed drainage is not adequate. There is not reason to raise the levels.
“The site boundaries of the site are not in compliance with those previously granted permission. The proposed development, having regard to the objections, is in breach of Part Eight of the Planning and Development Regulations 2001,” the submissions claimed.
In his response, director of services, Karl Cashen argued that the extra bedroom doesn’t result in any significant impact on the capacity of the public sewer while the proposed works do not depended on use of the disputed right of way.
Mr Cashen explained that the council proposed to demolish the garage as part of the works, the claims about pollution and site boundaries weren’t relevant, the allegation about building regulations wasn’t a planning issue while the issue about boundary walls referred to a lack of planting along site boundaries.
“Since the original permission was granted, road improvements have taken place along this stretch of road and adequate sightlines are available at the position of the new entrance.
“The hard-standing area is not excessive in area. Site levels are being raised so as to allow for the construction of the new entrance, additional surface water drains are proposed and along the existing surface water drainage will discharge to the surface water sewer in the public road.
“The proposal has been advertised, adequate notice was given and the documents made available for inspection in accordance with the requirements of the regulations,” he stated.


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