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Planning permission granted for 41 houses in Bunratty has been appealed following fears from local residents that the village would lose its identity as a ‘crucial tourist location’.

The development which initially included plans for 48 residential units, was submitted for planning by Bunratty Acquisitions Ltd, a private limited company with an address at Station Road, Ennis. The proposal comprised of 14 detached houses, 28 semidetached houses and six terrace houses with car parking, water attenuation as well as connection to a local sewage supply. It also included pedestrian access via a new junction off Bunratty West Holiday Village connecting to the L3126.

Submissions from concerned locals cited that the 48-unit development would be ‘inconsistent with the character of Bunratty’, ‘that the village lacked the necessary infrastructure’ and that the ‘density of housing would have a visual impact on the town,’ resulting in the loss of Bunratty as a tourist village.

In the build up to the application proving successful, a further information request was lodged by Clare County Council on January 30, 2020. Several issues were flagged, including an inappropriate design and layout, lack of pedestrian connectivity to central areas, a revised Nature Impact Survey that addressed local otters as a key feature of the Lower River Shannon Special Area of Conservation (SAC), noise pollution and proximity of houses to existing power lines.

Further observations noted that the infrastructure of the village would be incapable of supporting an extra 200 people that the development would attract. It was also pointed out that Bunratty is classified as a large village within the Clare County Development Plan 2017 – 2023. Chapter two of the plan sets out population targets for each town and village, with table 2.4 setting out an increase of just 99 persons for Bunratty, equating to 36 further households.

The submission also added that the village preschool, primary and secondary schools were all at maximum capacity and that commercial and general services would be unable to support such an increase in population.

A revised application by Bunratty Acquisitions Ltd. Including designs for a reduction to 41 residential units was approved by Clare County Council, who stated that the newly proposed population density fit within the County Development Plan. Alterations to the design scheme of the units was also deemed acceptable. It was also noted, following analysis of a revised NIS, that ‘the proposed development will not have a significant negative impact on the integrity of European Sites.’

Planning permission was officially granted for 41 residential units under 25 conditions on December 21, 2020.

An appeal has since been lodged with An Bord Pleanála against the decision of the planning authority on January 27, 2021 with a final submission date prescribed as February 23, 2021.

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