CLARE County Council has granted retention permission for construction of a pond at Smithstown Castle, Kilshanny.
The application was made by Markus and Eva Stuwe, who have an address in England. They are the owners of the site in question.
In the site description section of the county council’s planning report, it outlined where the pond is. “The existing pond is situated to the front of Smithstown Castle, which is located 3km northeast of Kilshanny. Smithstown Castle is both a recorded monument and a protected structure. The pond is a large dug-out piece of ground in the area to the front of the castle and is presently bound by a post and wire fence. There is a large concrete pipe at the centre of the pond (which will form part of a pier), with a plastic pipe at the side of the pond (which would appear to be the overflow pipe). It was noted that planting of trees around the pond has taken place.”
It described the proposal. “Retention permission is sought for construction of a pond. The development involves work near a protected structure. The pond measures approx 23m x 45m, shallow to the west and deeper to the east, to a max depth of 2.5 metres, to allow for fish stock.”
The report stated that a previous file noted serious concern in relation to the pond as constructed and its archaeological impact. However, it stated that an archaeological impact assessment submitted noted any damage that may have been done cannot be reversed. The assessment is also said to state that test trenching and monitoring of the drainage trench did not uncover any archaeological features, deposits or artefacts.
It was deemed that retention was acceptable. “Based on the above findings and the fact that to reinstate the pond may cause further archaeological damage, as well as potential damage to the percolation area, I consider that the retention is acceptable in this instance. However, I note that planning permission for a pier has not been included in the description of development, as per the subject application. Same shall not be permitted under the terms and conditions of this application.”
An Taisce made a submission in which it noted that there are seven monuments within one kilometre of the site. It said that while it was opposed to unauthorised development, it didn’t see any other option. “The report clearly states that when digging out this pond the damage was done and there would be no means of correcting it. To us, it appears a shame to reward unauthorised development by granting retention but we do not see another alternative.”
Planning permission was granted subject to three conditions. A pier indicated in the site layout plan is not permitted while a development contribution of €2864.62 is required.