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*Photograph: John Mangan

Renewable energy developments should be not allowed proceed in the centre of villages, a South Clare representative has stated.

Clare County Council ordered for a wind turbine in Parteen to be taken down on Thursday last. They have given a deadline of April 8th for the structure to be decommissioned and removed.

Detail on the background to the awarding of planning permission “without any consultation with the local community,” was sought by Cllr Pat O’Gorman (FF). He asked planning officials if they were satisfied “that set back distance guidelines of 500m from residential property has been adhered to” and if an assessment on this took place before the green light was given.

Permission was granted for the turbine in January 2011. “At the time of assessment of the application there were no third party submissions received with respect to this development,” Acting Senior Executive Planner Gareth Ruane outlined. An extension of the appropriate period of the application was permitted for an additional five years, he added. “All planning and technical reports are available on the files for inspection both in the Planning offices and on the Council’s website”.

Speaking at Tuesday’s meeting of the Shannon Municipal District, Cllr O’Gorman admitted he tabled the motion before the enforcement notice was issued. “I was looking for a bit of background into reason why such a monstrosity would be built on the verge of Parteen village, beside a school”.

“Why was it granted in the first place and how come the community didn’t know it was happening, it seemed to go up overnight”. The Cratloe native outlined, “I am not against renewable energy but I am against windmills and turbines in the centre of villages. I would encourage the planning department not to let it happen in the centre of Sixmilebridge, Cratloe, Shannon or Newmarket-on-Fergus”.

Little detail emerged from the Council reply to O’Gorman’s questions, Cllr Michael Begley (IND) observed. “There is an enforcement process in place so we might hold further comment until that has run its course”. Cllr Donna McGettigan (SF) added, “There is a place for these but it is not where it was, it needs to be looked at in the future”.

Elected representatives were encouraged to let the planning process continue by Director of Economic Development, Liam Conneally. “I would encourage anyone to read the planning report in relation to this development, there wasn’t any third party objections to this, we will take on board the scale of what is proposed and its location”.

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