PLANS for a new €10 million 50-unit housing development at Tullyvarraga, Shannon, have effectively been put on hold, following concerns about a number of planning and design issues.
Clare County Council has requested John Walsh, c/o Roy O’Shea, 20 Lower Hartstonge Street, Limerick, to submit revised plans for the development, which comprises of 10 detached, 24 semi-detached and 16 apartment units and ancillary works for a site at Tullyvarraga.
The planning authority expressed concerns that the house type mix has not sufficiently been informed by the 2017-2023 Clare County Development Plan.
The authority believes there is an over-provision of three-bed semi-detached dwellings and that greater consideration should be given to incorporating some single-storey dwellings.
It proposed that the siting of unit number one, relative to the existing property, should be revised by relocating same closer to the second unit and by relocating the turning area closer to the eastern boundary.
The authority expressed concerns about the siting of units number four to six and the available surveillance of public open space.
“It appears from the layout plan that the spacing between the second and sixth houses and from sites number seven and number nine is inadequate and that it is proposed to construct dwellings along party boundaries, with eaves and rainwater goods overhanging. Revised proposals with greater separation distances, which remove the siting of dwellings on party boundaries, are required,” it said.
Concerns were also expressed by the authority, in relation to internal design and layout of the apartments.
The minimum floor area standard for a two-bedroom apartment is 73m2. The application has 72m2, which is below department standards.
The authority stated that the private amenity space serving the first-floor apartments and the private storage space were not adequate.
It considered that the ground-floor layout of proposed dwellings shows a wheelchair access toilet, without any detail concerning drainage and service provisions enabling a shower to be fitted at any time.
The first-floor layout shows bedrooms served by ensuites but the family bathroom has no bath. The authority pointed out the purchaser should have the option of fitting a bath.
Concerns were expressed there may be potential for overlooking from the first-floor apartments into the existing residential units to the north in Cluainin. The authority said it may be more appropriate, in the interest of residential amenity, to locate the apartments along the western boundary with the Wolfe Tones recreation pitch.
Having regard to the location of the site within a designated flood risk area, the authority requested the submission of a flood risk assessment and justification test carried out in line with departmental guidelines.
“It is not clear from the layout if there is adequate space at the front of each house for two ‘on site’ car parking spaces. Some sites appear to have space for only one car.
“With reference to the access road serving houses at the south-eastern section of the development, it appears that the existing public cycle path/footpath is the only separation between this internal road and the public road.
“Concerns are expressed that this arrangement may cause confusion for road-users on the public road and may give rise to glare, when traffic is leaving this area via this access road,” the authority stated.
The developer had been advised to reassess the design of the apartment, in line with the requirements for Section B3 of Technical Guidance Document B ‘fire safety’ to building regulations.
In a recent interview with The Clare Champion, Mr Walsh said he hoped to have planning permission within 12 months and expected to start development, subject to planning permission, in the middle of 2018.
While he said current prices are generally not high enough to justify new building, he felt this would change.
“There is still probably a bit left in the market for it to reach a sustainable building level. Your prices for a three-bed semi at €210,000 or €215,000 would be rock-bottom. That’s the level it would need to be and it’s not too far off the mark for new houses, with what you get in terms of energy rating.
“I personally believe that the likes of the cities will overheat in terms of price again and push people out to the larger towns. I believe there is a need in towns like this,” he said.
Mr Walsh bought the Shannon site last year and has been active in Killaloe over recent years.
“I bought a ghost estate in Killaloe and we sold 27 houses there in the last couple of years and we started a new phase of houses. We got planning there for 35 houses. We launched 12 houses late last year and we had a full sell-out of them,” he added.
By Dan Danaher