Monday 23 April 2018

Planning blow to Supermac's boss's latest 'Obama' plaza

Barack Obama Plaza in Moneygall.
Barack Obama Plaza in Moneygall.
Pat McDonagh

Gordon Deegan

Plans by Supermac's supremo Pat McDonagh to put in place a network of Barack Obama plaza-style service areas on the motorway network have been dealt a blow.

An Bord Pleanála refused planning permission to Mr McDonagh for a rest stop and drive-thru just off the motorway linking Limerick and Gort outside Ennis.

Supermac's already has plazas in place at Moneygall in Co Offaly and another recently opened plaza near the M6 at Loughrea in Co Galway.

There is no motorway plaza on the motorway linking Limerick to Gort and earlier this year Clare Co Council gave Mr McDonagh the green light for the project.

The decision was appealed by service stop rival Applegreen which has its own plans for a service area 8km south of the Supermac's site.

However, Applegreen and a local business, Claureen Service Station, subsequently withdrew their appeals with local man Shane Brigdale remaining the only appellant opposed to the plan.

The An Bord Pleanála decision throws into jeopardy the 100 jobs anticipated during the operation phase and up to 80 jobs during construction.

Supermac's has the option of lodging revised plans. Mr McDonagh said yesterday: "I'm not really commenting on it for the moment until we study the inspector's report. However, it is disappointing for everyone."

The appeals board refused planning on three grounds and found that the proposed development, by reason of its design, would not integrate satisfactorily with the rural and predominantly flat landscape in the hinterland of Ennis.

It stated that the plan would therefore seriously injure the visual amenities of the area and be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.

The board also concluded that the plan, through the use of the proposed access and egress, would endanger public safety by reason of traffic hazard or obstruction of road users.

The board also refused planning after concluding that the proposed development would represent an unacceptable risk of pollution to ground and surface waters in the area and would be prejudicial to public health and the quality of the local environment.

The inspector in the case recommended that planning permission be refused as the development of the site to provide the proposed motorway service area would be contrary to the advice contained in the National Road Guidelines and that such development would materially contravene the Countryside Zoning Objective of the site in the Ennis and Environs Development Plan 2008 - 2014.

The outstanding appellant in the case, Mr Brigdale told the appeals board that he had a right of way across the Supermac's site and raised other concerns around the plan.

A submission to An Bord Pleanála on behalf of Supermac's stated that Mr McDonagh acknowledges that Mr Brigdale has a right of way and has sought to come to an accommodation with him about it.

The submission states: "The resolution of this matter is outside the remit of this appeal and other mechanisms are in place to resolve same."

Applegreen was earlier this year refused planning permission by Clare Co Council for its own motorway plaza near Dromoland Castle after the five star hotel objected to the plan on a number of grounds. Applegreen subsequently appealed the decision to An Bord Pleanála and a decision on the appeal is due next month.

Irish Independent

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