Wednesday 13 December 2017

Applegreen suffers blow to motorway network plans

Services area site is close to Dromoland Castle in Co Clare
Services area site is close to Dromoland Castle in Co Clare

Gordon Deegan

Applegreen's plans to expand its motorway services network have suffered a blow.

An Bord Pleanála has refused planning permission to plans by Applegreen to build an €8m service area near the five-star Dromoland Castle in Co Clare.

The plan comprises five takeaway cafés and restaurants along with a convenience store, a four-pump island forecourt and parking for 184 cars.

The refusal follows An Bord Pleanála last month refusing planning permission to Supermac's for a Barack Obama- style plaza eight km from the planned Applegreen site at Dromoland.

As a result of the two refusals, the motorway linking Limerick to Gort, which carries 23,000 vehicles per day and rising, remains without a serviced stop.

It is the second time that Applegreen has been refused planning permission for an area at Dromoland and the application has attracted objections from the nearby five star hotel on each occasion. Applegreen trades from over 200 sites in Ireland, the UK and the US and it told the appeals board that its Clare proposal was fully compliant in terms of its location and design.

However, in a comprehensive refusal to the plan, the appeals board has ruled that the site has not been identified for use as a Motorway Service Area (MSA) in either the National Road Authority's Service Area Policy or the Clare County Development Plan 2011-2017.

The appeals board stated that pending implementation of the Transport Infrastructure Ireland plan-led approach to the provision of a Motorway Service Area in the area cited, the Board considers that the proposed development at junction 11 would be premature.

The board refused planning after its inspector, Hugh Morrison, concluded that such a development "would risk the establishment of an adverse precedent that could lead to the proliferation of motorway service areas that would be incompatible with one another".

Irish Independent

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