PLANS by former developer Joe McNamara to retain his controversial 'Achill-henge' project have been dashed after An Bord Plenala refused his retention application.
Mr McNamara had appealed Mayo County Council's decision that the structure required planning permission. He claimed the Stonehenge-like build was exempt from planning laws as it was an “ornamental garden”.
However, An Bord Pleanala has now ruled that the structure is not an exempted development. The body sided with Mayo County Council, ruling that the structure was a development in planning terms and required planning permission.
Mr McNamara constructed the structure, which is known locally as Achill-henge, over the course of one weekend at Pollagh on Achill Island last November. He had no planning permission for the build but had argued that it was exempt from planning laws.
In ruling against Mr McNamara's appeal, An Bord Pleanala said; “the scheme in question constitutes development by virtue of the substantial nature of the excavation and construction works involved.”
Mayo County Council said it would now consider the matter in the coming days.
Mayo County Council brought a High Court injunction against Mr McNamara's continued work at the site last December. The former developer was jailed for three nights at that time after he was found to be in contempt of a court order requiring him to cease working on the structure.
The High Court later ruled that An Bord Pleanala should make the final decision on the future of the site. However, the structure has proved a draw for tourists and many locals believe it unlikely that Mr McNamara will remove it.
The structure is 4.5 metres high and 30 metres in diameter.
Mr McNamara has previously described the structure as “a place of reflection”.