CONCERNS that a scenic part of Tuamgraney could be turned into a “concrete jungle” have been raised in a submission on a major housing development proposed for the village.
Last month, developer Michael Pearl applied for permission to demolish an existing pumping station and built 52 houses, in a mix of bungalows and two-storey units, on a site of just under four hectares on the Dock Road.
To-date, one detailed submission has been made by a resident of Reddan’s Quay who has listed 15 concerns about the proposal. The objection raised concerns about “considerable increases in the level of flooding at Reddan’s Quay”. It said that additional housing would reduce the capacity of the land to absorb flood waters.
The document has also raised concern about the adequacy of screening reports on the potential environmental and flooding impact of the development. The submission outlined that residents of the area have already experienced difficulty securing house insurance due to their proximity to the Scariff River. It warned that residents of the proposed development would have similar issues.
The document has described Reddan’s Quay as “a much used transit facility by boaters, fishermen and holiday makers”. It raised concerns that these visitors would have to “walk past the proposed 52 house development and the approximate additional 100 cars emitting carbon to reach the restaurants, shops and bars”.
“I feel that tourists will bypass the village if all they can see on arrival is a concrete jungle,” the submission stated.
Concerns are also raised about the density of the development proposed for “an area of such environmental, historical and architectural significance”. Queries have been raised, too, about the potential increase in traffic and how this would be managed.
Sight lines at the point where the Reddan’s Quay road meets the R463 from Scariff to Killaloe are highlighted as a cause for concern. The submission has also outlined fears that the “racetrack type road layout” for the proposed development could give rise to speeding.
The fact that endangered bird species, including snipe, are present in the area, has also been flagged. The submission stated that there are no mitigation measures proposed in the planning application to address the potential loss of bird habitats, and that there is no survey of overwintering birds such as the curlew. Concern is also raised about a bat colony that nests at O’Grady’s Castle and forages locally at night.
The density of the proposed development is described as “excessive” in relation to existing housing in Tuamgraney. The planned estate would be “out of character with the outskirts of a small rural village”, the submission said. The adequacy of existing infrastructure is highlighted.
Concern is raised about the impact of “the additional traffic hazards that approximately circa 50 pupils would bring to the village on a daily basis”.
The submission makes a number of suggestions for improving the landscaping plan, which include avoiding cherry laurel as a hedging material. This is described in the document as an invasive species with a potentially negative impact.
While the author of the submission said they are “not anti-development”, they drew attention to alternative sites and the fact that there are a number of vacant homes in the village.
“Tuamgraney is one of the very few villages left in the country left untouched by large scale development which is what makes it so unique,” the submission added.
“I would urge the council to seriously consider the impact the granting of planning permission for the current proposed development will have on the natural amenities that Tuamgraney has and the future of the village”.
The submission has urged planners to avoid creating a commuter population with little connection to the village. “Tuamgraney has a special character and personality of its own and I fear for its future”, the submission concluded.
Clare County Council is continuing to assess the plans and has given June 15 as an indicative decision date.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 065 6864146.