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March decision as developers appeal Tulla planning refusal

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DEVELOPERS seeking to build 36 new homes in Tulla have lodged an appeal, after being refused planning permission by Clare County Council.

An application from Woodhaven Developments for a site on Church Road was turned down after planners judged the plans to be “deficient in terms of its pedestrian provision” and out of keeping with the character of the area.

In its appeal to An Bórd Pleanála, Woodhaven said it felt the Council’s refusal was “based on a narrow review of the submitted proposals as regards the housing need within the development plan requirements, national policy, quantity and type of units, design, layout, principle of development, site topography, site services, adjoining planning history associated with Tulla”.

The company also said that, in refusing permission on the grounds outlined, the Council would remove the site from future development as the adjoining lands are not in Woodhaven’s ownership and are not for sale.

Woodhaven noted that the site has been described by the Council as “a key development location”, in terms of housing provision and as regards “walkability, permeability and sustainable patterns of development”.

The company argued that granting permission for the new homes would not have any negative impact on these factors.

It also drew the board’s attention to a social housing scheme developed by the Council where, Woodhaven said “the planners removed walkability and permeability from the application”.

In terms of the Council’s assertion that the estate would not be in keeping with the existing character of the area, Woodhaven told the appeals board that the housing design mix and tenure are in full compliance with Development Plan guidelines.

The company also contended that the proposed layout incorporates access to further zoned lands to the south of the site and “does not dictate the final layout, density or housing typology that adjoining land owners must comply with”.

In respect of the wider issues of housing in Tulla, Woodhaven noted that “concerns around unbuilt planning permissions in the Tulla area by other developers long in play haven’t disappeared”.

The company listed numerous challenges facing developers and added that, “the list of planning granted… sadly do not reflect the commencement notices lodged”.

The appeal document described Woodhaven as “the largest private housing developer in County Clare” and stated that the company has been congratulated by the Council for its track record in providing housing.

“The housing section of Clare County Council recently confirmed that the company were the biggest provider of direct Part V housing to the Council,” the document added.

The original plans were lodged with Clare County Council last May, for the prominent greenfield site, close to Glebe House.

During the public consultation phase, four submissions were made. On foot of these, County planners requested Further Information (FI) on a number of aspects of the development, including the proposed connectivity to Tulla’s Main Street. The Council also raised concerns over “piecemeal development”.

As part of a detailed FI response, the company noted that their plans were submitted “as part of a master plan for the site and the surrounding zoned lands”.

The company pointed out that the site has been zoned since 2017, “while other sites in the village have been de-zoned”.

Revised drawings were submitted in order to address concerns about the proposed estate’s layout.

Despite the FI response, planning permission was refused at the end of October. An Bórd Pleanála is currently considering Woodhaven’s appeal and has indicated that its decision will be issued on March 30, 2023.

Fiona McGarry
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Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald.
Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti.
She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at The University of Galway.
If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at The University of Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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