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Planning granted for Tulla nursing home

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An Bord Pleanála has granted planning permission for the construction of a 30-person nursing home in Tulla despite a recommendation to refuse the development on three separate grounds by the planning inspector in the appeal.
Planning was granted to applicants John and Ted Nugent, subject to 14 planning conditions, for the construction of a 26-bedroom nursing home together with eight assisted living complex units, ancillary facilities and associated site development works.
The board found that it would not seriously injure the amenities of the area, or of property in the vicinity and would result in an acceptable level of amenity for future occupants and would be acceptable in terms of traffic safety and convenience, subject to compliance with 14 cited by the planning board.
The planning inspector recommended that planning be refused and noted in her report that further to the above planning assessment of matters pertaining to this appeal, that the location of the nursing home would be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.
In coming to this conclusion, she said he had regard to the relevant local planning policy provisions; the fringe location of the site outside of the designated development lands of the village; the poor residential amenities proposed for future occupants and the potential of the proposed development to endanger public safety by reason of a traffic hazard.
She recommended that the decision of the Planning Authority be overturned in this instance and that permission be refused for the proposed development on three grounds.
The first that the proposed development is located on lands outside of the defined settlement boundaries of Tulla and would, as a result of its fringe location, militate against the coherent growth of the village in accordance with the general objectives set down in the East Clare Local Area Plan, 2011-2017, for Tulla, in particular, of improving the urban definition of the town by way of consolidation.
She further considered that the provision of such a development at this location would also conflict with the general objectives for the settlement of ensuring that new developments are balanced, sustainable, and relative to the settlement and that they are of an appropriate scale, size and character to the existing town. Therefore, it would materially contravene an objective indicated in a local area plan for the area and that the proposed development, by itself and the precedent it would set, would, be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.
A further reason for the recommended refusal was noted that the proposed development, by reason of its design and layout “having regard to the poor internal accommodation provided, in particular but not limited to the poor quality of bedrooms within the nursing home, the single-aspect nature and restricted size of many of the rooms within the nursing home; the restricted width and lack of natural light and ventilation of the internal circulation spaces and the lack of dedicated rooms to deal with visitors, therapy and clinical needs of future occupants, would provide an unsatisfactory standard of amenity for future occupants and staff”.
It was also her recommendation that the proposed development would endanger public safety by reason of traffic hazard because of the substandard nature of the adjoining public road, in particular its restricted width, its proximity to an existing junction to the east and its posted speed limit of 80kph.
“It is further considered that the additional volumes of traffic generated by the proposed development cannot be safely accommodated at this entrance without giving rise to a traffic hazard and obstruction to the safe flow of traffic along this section of road. Moreover, the board is not satisfied based on the information submitted that the traffic and transportation assessment provided has taken adequate account of future development, in particular permitted development on land to the north of the site,” she stated.
The board outlined in its decision that in coming to the conclusion not to accept the inspector’s recommendation to refuse permission, it considered that in relation to the first recommended reason for refusal that a nursing home at this location would not contravene materially the development plan. The board came to this decision having regard to its location and connectivity to the settlement of Tulla and to the pattern of existing and permitted development in the immediate vicinity.
It also stated in relation to the inspectors second recommended reason for refusal that the board considered that generally the layout and size of rooms were acceptable and the assisted living units would offer an acceptable standard of amenity. The board stated that the inspector’s concerns regarding special clinical and therapy rooms could be overcome by way of conditions.
The board added that in reference to the inspector’s third reason for refusal, it considered the development of a nursing home on the scale proposed would not result in a traffic hazard.
The proposed development was granted planning permission by Clare County Council in December 2010 and this decision was appealed by two women involved in a further nursing home development in Tulla.
The appellants, Geraldine Cosgrove and Mary Coleman of Woodstown, Lisnagry, County Limerick called on the board to “overturn the bad decision made by Clare County Council to allow two nursing homes directly across the road from each other in such a small village”.
In a letter to the board the appellants, through their agent Pat Boyce of Boyce Architectural & Engineering set out that they had lodged a proposal for a nursing home in Tulla with Clare County Council in 2009 and received planning permission in April 2010.
They claimed in their appeal that the requirements of the local area plan had not been rigorously addressed by the applicants John and Ted Nugent as they had “not adequately demonstrated that no alternative sites were available within the settlement boundary”.

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