ARCHAEOLOGICAL concerns have prompted planners to seek further details from developers looking to build a 36-home estate on the outskirts of Tulla.
Earlier this year, Rockfort Developments applied for permission to build 14 detached homes as well as 16 semi-detached and six terraced houses on the outskirts of the town, off the L4078, with a pedestrian connection to the exiting footpath into the centre of Tulla. Now, following reports from An Taisce and the government’s Development Assessment Unit (DAU), as well as two submission from nearby residents, county planners have asked for significant Further Information (FI) on the proposals.
The site, of just over 1.8 hectares, is located inside the 50kmph speed limit in an area zoned for low-density residential development under the Tulla Settlement Plan. It is currently a greenfield site, bounded to the north by the Cúirt na bhFiach estate, to the east by O’Halloran’s filling station, and to the west by a single private home. To the south, the site is bordered by the public road, with St Joseph’s Secondary School just opposite.
A report submitted by the DAU raised a number of concerns about the plans given the archaeological significance of the area. The unit, which is part of the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, noted that the planned estate is close to three ‘fulacht fia’ monuments. These cooking pits, believed to date to the Bronze Age were discovered, the DAU notes, during the development of property to the south of the site. In line with guidelines from the National Monuments Service, the DAU asked that FI be sought requiring the developer to hire a qualified archaeologist to assess the site. “Where archaeological material/features are shown to be present,” the DAU stated, “preservation in situ, preservation by record (excavation) or monitoring may be required.”
In its recommendations on the development, An Taisce said that a report on local roads infrastructure, submitted with the plans, “fails to address enhanced safe cycling connections to the town centre via the L-4078”. It also claimed that “the location of a housing development within a 50kmph speed limit is inappropriate,” and said “a lower speed limit is required”. In its submission, the organisation also highlighted an objectives of The Programme for Government (PFG) on clean air, work-life balance and transport. A priority action of the programme is cited in the submission, stating that “necessary improvements in climate impact, quality of life, air quality and physical and mental health demand that every effort is made by the government to make active travel and public transport better and more accessible”. The submission also noted that local authorities have, under the PFG been mandated to immediately assess their roads network to identify space for pedestrians and cyclists.
Meanwhile, two submissions, citing privacy concerns, were made by residents living close to the site. One resident highlighted how three of the proposed homes will border his property. “I would sincerely hope that these houses can be repositioned on this site which would enable a green buffer area to extend along my boundary,” the submission said.
Another local couple asked that a “substantial stone wall” could be built between the estate and their home to maintain some privacy and reduce the possibility of trespass. “Outside of that, best of luck with the development,” the submission concluded.
A report from Irish Water said the utility has no objections to the development. However, county planners have now included in the FI document a request for additional details of the storm water drainage system. In line with the recommendations of the DAU, the developers have been asked to have an archaeologist carry out an assessment of the site. Rockfort Developments have also been asked to revise plans for the boundaries of the estate to improve privacy for existing homes and reduce the risk of trespass. Revisions to the road layout within the estate, with a view to reducing any instances of speeding, have also been sought. Chargers for Electric Vehicles (EVs) must also be installed, footpaths extended and extra details submitted about space and turning points within the planned development.
The developer now has six months to submit the required details to Clare County Council.