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Drawbridge raised: Blarney Castle owner fails to halt housing, nursing home plans

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Blarney Castle

Blarney Castle

Blarney Castle

The owner of one of Ireland's most popular tourist attractions, Blarney Castle in Cork, has failed to halt plans for a 120-bed nursing home and housing development just two kilometres away.

Charles Colthurst last year put the plan by Hydro Estates Ltd on hold after lodging an appeal against the Cork County Council decision to give the project the go-ahead. However, An Bord Pleanála has now given the green light to Hydro Estates Ltd for the nursing home and 23 of the 29 planned houses at St Ann's Hill, Kilnamucky, Tower, Blarney.

The appeals board omitted six homes from the permission "in the interest of visual amenity and having regard to the landscape character of the site".

The board gave the project the go-ahead after ruling that the proposal "would not adversely affect the character and setting of the protected structure or archaeological sites on the site".

The appeals board also ruled that the proposal "would not adversely impact on the residential amenities or the amenities of adjoining properties, and would be acceptable in terms of visual impact".

Each year, Blarney Castle features in the top-10 fee-paying attractions, with around 460,000 visitors.

Planning consultants acting for Mr Colthurst, McCutcheon Halley, claimed that the proposed development "will have a significant negative visual impact" on Blarney Castle. The nursing home is to be built on the site of the former St Ann's Hydropathic Establishment.

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