A question mark has been placed over whether or not a multi-million euro private housing developments proposed for Ennis will proceed in the future.
Abadair Investments Limited has withdrawn plans for the construction of 148 residential units at Ballymacaula, Keelty and Drumbiggle, Circular Road, Ennis from the local planning authority.
The developer had applied for planning permission to build 60 detached houses, 82 semi-detached houses and six terrace houses, ancillary surface car parking, crèche, ancillary outdoor play area, staff car parking area and drop-off zone; vehicular, pedestrian and cyclist access to the proposed development via a new junction on Circular Road.
It also included plans for traffic calming measures on Circular Road; connection to existing public water supply; surface water drainage services as well as the provision of a surface water attenuation pond and treatment of surface waters prior to outfall; proposed foul drainage network, which comprises of the construction of a foul water pumping station with emergency storage and rising main with discharge to the public foul sewer at Cahercalla Road.
The developer had invested a lot of time and resources on preparing comprehensive plans for this development including consultation meetings with the planning department, the environment services department, the roads’ department and the housing department of Clare County Council.
A pre-planning meeting was also held between representatives of the developer and the planning authority on March 16 last.
The subject site comprises of 10.60 hectares overall, which are situated in the western part of the environs of Ennis.
These lands are bound to the east by the fairways at Ennis Golf Course; a row of detached bungalows fronting onto Circular Road and some 33 metres of direct frontage onto Circular Road itself.
To the west, the site is bound entirely by the N85 Ennis by-pass and Western Relief Road.
The development lands are in agricultural use and are predominantly agricultural grassland.
According to planning documents, the following housing mix is proposed – 66 three-bedroom two-storey semi-detached; one three-bedroom two-storey detached; 46 four-bedroom two-storey semi-detached and 13 two-bedroom bungalows.
The crèche was designed to accommodate about 48 children. Vehicular access for drop-off and pick-up at the crèche was provided along with ancillary car parking spaces adjacent to the building. A dedicated outdoor child play area was also proposed.
In 2006, there were two concurrent planning applications for development at the subject lands; one lodged with Clare County Council and one lodged with Ennis Town Council.
One application was for the construction of an entrance, 147 dwelling houses, a crèche and associated site works.
The second application was for the provision of an entrance access road 52 dwelling houses and 28 apartments and all associated site works.
While both of these planning applications were granted by the local authority and the town council respectively, both proposals were refused planning permission by An Bord Pleanála.
The same three reasons for refusal were stated in each case. The appeals’ board considered the development would be premature due to the existing deficiency in the provision of sewerage facilities and the period in which this constraint may be reasonably expected to cease.
Having regard to the proximity of the site to the Western Relief Road and the proposal made on appeal to provide a 2.5 metre acoustic noise barrier along the boundary with the road to provide for adequate residential amenity in terms of noise, the board was not satisfied that this barrier may not seriously injure the visual amenities of the area.
The board was not satisfied that there was adequate pedestrian connectivity between the site and the urban area and considered the development would endanger pedestrian safety by reason of traffic hazard.
According to a submission prepared by Limerick City-based architects, Arnold Leahy, the first reason for refusal concerning infrastructural capacity issues on the Ennis Main Drainage network has been resolved.
The submission recalled in 2011 the appeals’ board granted planning permission for the upgrade of the Clonroadmore Wastewater Treatment Plant and three years later, Response Engineering Limited were appointed by Irish Water as the main contractor to complete the upgrade scheme.
The Clonroadmore WWTP was originally constructed in the 1940s with a capacity of 5,000 population equivalent before the plant was expanded in the 1970s to a capacity of 17,000 population equivalent. The upgrade plan provides for a capacity of 30,150 population equivalent.
In relation to the second reason for refusal, the architects referred to the site layout plan for the latest development showing the layout of houses adjacent to the N85.
In the first instance, a 30 metre setback from the primary road to the building line of all houses is observed.
“Within this setback, the lands zoned for ‘buffer space’ comprising a 12 metre wide zone providing .8 hectares of open space is observed and no development other than landscaping works occurs within this zone.
“In relation to the third reason for refusal, the planning authority will note there is a continuous footway between the proposed entrance junction to the development lands and Ennis Town Centre via Circular Road, the regional R474 to Cornmarket Street.
“A design for public street lighting at the proposed entrance junction has been prepared by Molloy Consulting Engineers and is included with the planning application. The design for linkage of public lighting along the R474 regional road is also shown on the lighting scheme drawings to be provided by the local authority in due course.
“The proposed development is focused on the creation of a high quality residential environment in terms of overall design and layout, a mixture of tenure types and unit sizes and the provision of high quality landscaped public open spaces,” the architects stated.
By Dan Danaher