Permission has been granted for the construction of forty two houses at Drumbiggle, Ennis.

Clare County Council had previously approved plans from Woodhaven Devlopments Ltd in December of last year but third party appeals were made to An Bord Pléanála. These were unsuccessful and the development will now proceed.

Woodhaven Developers Ltd first submitted plans last year to demolish an existing dwelling house and garage, construct 39 two storey dwelling houses and three single storey dwelling houses at Ballymacaula, Drumbiggle located across the road from the existing Beechpark estate in Ennis. Works would also involve retiring the existing overhead lines and associated poles and erecting two triple pole 38 Kv cable end poles arrangement instead.

Local residents in the area objected to the plans citing traffic congestion, increase in noise pollution, location of the foul sewer pumping station, disposal of surface water, an inadequate flood proposal management plan, deprecation in value of property, planning history plus health and safety.

In light of these submissions, Clare County Council felt the proposed development would not seriously injure the amenities of the area or of property in the vicinity and would be acceptable in terms of traffic safety, public health and convenience.

A submission from Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) has been obtained by The Clare Echo and it revealed that the state agency made observations directly to Clare County Council on the development proposal, specifically, concerning surface water drainage and use of the drainage regime constructed for the N85 Ennis Bypass Scheme by the applicant for disposal of surface water.

TII felt that insufficient information had been submitted with the planning application to demonstrate that proposals will not negatively impact on the N85 national road drainage regime and that the development still has potential to negatively impact it.

The letter states, “TII will not be responsible for the costs of any future mitigation, repair or improvement required to the national road and associated drainage regime to remedy any negative impacts arising as a result of private development proposals being facilitated by the Council in the manner proposed in the subject planning application. Such costs will be the responsibility of the Council”. The views stated in the letter were sought by An Bord Pléanála when examining the application.

Twenty six conditions were given by the Council to Woodhaven Developers to be followed if proceeding with the development at the five acre site. These include; internal noise levels not exceeding 35 dB(A), roof colour can only be blue-black, black or dark grey, the hedgerow identified for retention shall be protected during construction in accordance with the tree protection measures, areas of public open space shall be reserved for such use and maintained by the developer.

Prior to the development commencing, the applicant must enter into a written agreement with the planning authority in relation to the provision of social and affordable housing. The developer must also pay a financial contribution in respect of public infrastructure and facilities benefiting development in the area, special development contributions must also be paid towards improvements of public lighting facilities, public footpaths and improvements of traffic calming measures.

Studies commissioned by developers on the site found no major impact of pluvial flooding or of impact from groundwater and the sea. The site area was never flooded, the nearest event in February 2002 when the River Claureen flooded the Ennis Keelty to a peak depth of 150mm had no impact.

In 2005 the location was refused permission for a higher density site of 60 dwelling houses and a shop. The Council felt the development was premature pending completion of the N85 and gave the proximity to Beechpark roundabout, traffic hazards and a substandard layout as reasons for their decision.

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