THE former Avoca site in Bunratty has been an eyesore for years but planning has just been granted by An Bord Pleanála to develop a restaurant on its site.
Maurice Walsh, from nearby Durty Nellies had appealed to An Bord Pleanála against the demolition of the retail/commercial building ruin at the site, and the subsequent construction of a restaurant and food hall. The application was made by Zest.
Planning Inspector Keith Sargent carried out a report on the application and outlined the background to it.
“This is a third party appeal case, the appellant being the owner/operator of the long established Durty Nelly’s public house complex on the west bank of the Ratty River at Bunratty. The appeal site is on the east bank of the river, and effectively comprises a ‘brownfield’ former commercial site including the burnt out ruin of an Avoca complex. The complex was destroyed by fire in the mid-2000s.”
It states that the new restaurant would be 104 square metres in size, while the café would be 131 square metres, the food hall would be 100 square metres and kitchen & ancillary spaces would be 345 square metres.
It also states that the application relates to works within the curtilage of a protected structure.
Regarding the grounds for the appeal, the report stated that the proposal was not in keeping with the character of Bunratty. It claimed it would be an under-use of a site in a strategic location for tourism development, that the proposal would represent a substantial reduction in retail activity/choice compared to the pre-existing use and that it wouldn’t promote local artistic/cultural/heritage attractions.
It also claimed there was inadequate provision for parking and that it would increase flood risk. It was also claimed that there would be an adverse visual impact, and that it would detract from Bunratty Castle and Bunratty Bridge.
The complaints were rejected by Zest, while they claimed the development would see the creation of 13 full-time job equivalents in Bunratty and ten more in Shannon.
Mr Sargent found that at this time the site is suitable for development. “As I recall the development of the subject lands on the eastern side of the River Ratty for the first time in the 1980s or thereabouts was extremely controversial at that time. For centuries the river had defined the eastern limit of the settlement.
However, the site is now a brownfield site hosting a blocked up building ruin arising from a fire in the 2000s. Accordingly, having regard to the planning history and zoning provisions of the Development Plan, I agree with the planning authority that development of the nature proposed should be deemed acceptable in principle.”
While a number of conditions were recommended, Mr Sargeant was in favour of allowing the development.
“Having regard to the planning history of the area and the zoning provisions of the development plan for the area, it is considered that, subject to compliance with the conditions specified the proposed development would not seriously injure the amenities of the area or property in the vicinity, would be acceptable in terms traffic safety and convenience and would be in accordance with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.”