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A general view of the Braids site at Station Road in Ennis. Photograph by John Kelly

Proposed extension to Ennis plan rejected

Split decision by Council denies Braids development permission to increase size

THE developers of a primary health care facility in Ennis have been refused planning permission to increase its size.
Concerns the proposal would “endanger public safety” and “seriously injure the amenities of property in the vicinity”, have lead to a split decision by Clare County Council.
The local authority approved some aspects and refused others in the planning application made by Philip Doyle, on behalf of Valley Healthcare Fund Infrastructure Investment Fund ICAV, to revise and amend planning permission already granted for a mixed use development at the former Braids factory site on Station Road.
The new proposals were the subject of a number of objections from local residents voicing concern about the size of the development among other issues.
The application had sought to increase the floor area of the four-storey primary care health facility and ancillary commercial units from 7,250sqm to 8,008sqm with the provision of an additional floor set back at roof top level.
There had also been plans for an additional deck of car parking, however Council planners contended this did not accord with the site specific zoning objectives of the site.
The developers disputed this, however they did agree to omit this part of the proposed development.
The applicant had stated it would lease parking spaces in an existing multi-storey car park in the town centre to compensate for the parking shortfall.
In deciding to refuse planning permission for the increase in floor space, the local authority stated, “The planning authority is not satisfied that the proposed development would not result in haphazard parking arrangements in the vicinity of the site.
“The planning authority thus considers that the proposed development would endanger public safety by reason of traffic hazard or obstruction of road users.”
The Council went on to explain its reasons for the refusal on impairment of property amenities.
“Having regard to the number of windows as proposed on the eastern elevation and their position relative to the existing dwellings to the east, and notwithstanding the proposal to utilise obscure glazing, and coupled with the increase in the overall height of the development, the planning authority is not satisfied that the proposed development would not result in significant overbearance on these dwellings and their associated private amenity space.
“The planning authority considers that the proposed development would seriously injure the amenities of property in the vicinity.”
While the increase in size was refused, planning permission has been granted for some of the proposals.
These are to retain the internal relocation of a permitted lift shaft, retain minor changes to window and door treatments, retain the relocation of a permitted external ESB substation and switch room, to relocate the permitted plant store from roof to ground level, to omit the PV panel from the roof level and to provide additional bicycle parking.
Assessing the application Clare County Council planners recommended the split decision be issued.
According to a report, planners were not satisfied with proposals regarding parking for the development.
“While I consider that the proposed deck car parking development was not appropriate development (and which I would still contend represented a material contravention of the County Development Plan, notwithstanding the applicants rebuttal of same), the proposal in relation to the provision of the required short fall in the multi storey car park in Ennis town centre has not been substantiated with appropriate legal documentation, and a concrete implementation plan.
“In this regard I would have considered it more appropriate for the applicant to reduce the scale of the development such that car parking needs could be met on site.”
The planner recommended refusal of the increase in size and additional parking element of the application, while saying the retention element of the overall development “is broadly acceptable”.
Objections to the plans had been made by residents of Ard na Greine, the Cathedral Court Management Company and Michelle Madden of Maddens Furniture.
According to a submission from the residents of Ard na Greine, “every single resident of Ard na Greine has signified their opposition to this proposal”.

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