Friday 19 July 2019

Crematorium plan 'burned' by planners due to site notice

Invalid: only one site notice was put in place when there should have been two

Maria Herlihy

The planning application to build a crematorium in Kanturk did not meet Cork County Council guidelines and should the applicant, Classic Lodges Ltd, opt to submit a fresh application then the planning process will have to start all over again. It will also mean more than 60 objectors, who included The Island, Crematorium in Ringaskiddy, Transport Infrastructure Ireland and the HSE, will also have to resubmit applications.

In a letter by Cork County Council  to Classic Lodges Ireland, and sent to its architects in Cork city, it was stated that on inspection of the land it was noted that only one site notice was erected - when there should have been two.

The application, under Article 19 of the Planning and Development Regulations, was therefore not met and its application and drawings would be returned and its application declared invalid.

Classic Lodges Ltd certainly drew the ire locally as there were a deluge of some bulky submissions.  In the eight paged observation by The Island Crematorium via their planning consultants, it cited that there "does not appear to be any gas mains in this location that would allow easy connection to the proposed facility.

"The UK Guidance on Siting and Planning of Crematoria explicitly requires available electricity and gas services to serve a crematorium," it submitted. It also noted from its submitted plans and drawings that no provision was made for a mains gas connection or for the storage and containment of gas tanks.

In its detailed observation it also stated that the provision of a crematorium on this "sensitive rural site" at Dromcummer Beg on the site of the former Duhallow Park Hotel - is not acceptable in principle, as it constitutes an inappropriate commercial/industrial type development for which there is no proven need in this rural area, which is lacking in service and public transportation provision.

It also put forward the view that there is no specific National Planning Guidance in respect of the siting and design of crematoriums in Ireland and cited An Bord Pleanala decision to refuse planning for crematoriums in Tipperary, Dublin 18 and in Galway.  In a statutory report received from the HSE, they made observations based on chemicals as well as fuel storage, pest control, emissions to the atmosphere, remains storage, noise, waste management, protection of surface waters and ground-waters as well as monitoring and decommissioning. It also stated that the River Blackwater and its associated special area of conservation is "extremely close" to the proposed development. Another statutory report from Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) stated that the proposal, if approved, would create an adverse impact on the national road where the maximum permitted speed limit applies and would, in their opinion, be at variance with the  national policy in relation to control of frontage development on national roads.  It also believes that the development, located on a national road where the maximum speed limit applies, would endanger public safety.

The application by Classic Lodges Ltd also drew the attention of Peter Sweetman & Associates of Dublin 6. Cork County Council acknowledged his 'submission/observation' on October 10. Mr Sweetman could be regarded as one of the State's foremost objectors  which has included various wind farms and he was very robust  campaigner against Shell's Corrib gas pipeline along with a number of large road schemes and waste to energy plants.

He previously put the brakes on plans for a 38,000 tonne rock barrier at President Donald Trump's golf resort in West Clare.  Mr Sweetman is the son of the former FG Minister for Finance, Gerald.

In previous interview, he said: "I don't object. I make submissions and claim to have improved many developments."

The Corkman spoke to a planner who said: "Should Classic Lodges now opt to make a new planning  application it will mean that Cork County Council will refund the €20 paid by each person who made an observation. Should they so wish, they will then have to make a new planning observation. The five week planning clock will start again but for now it is a wait and see matter."