Saturday 21 April 2018

Planning refused at old convent site

The former Sisters of Mercy Convent in Templeshannon
The former Sisters of Mercy Convent in Templeshannon

Esther Hayden

A planning application to turn the Sisters of Mercy Convent on The Shannon into offices has been turned down by Wexford County Council.

Last October TWEP Ltd had applied to the council for permission for the change of use of existing convent to office space and permission for 30 car park spaces along with permission for pedestrian entrance and new car entrances and associated site works..

Earlier this year the council wrote to Stephen O'Leary architect working on behalf of TWEP looking for further information. Planner James Lavin indicated in his initial report that while 'the principal of office use if acceptable additional information is required regarding car parking, access arrangements and surface water attenuation required to fully assess the proposed development.'

Mr Lavin said that the application stated that vehicle access to the proposed car park would be through the existing church car park but said that this entrance is too narrow. He looked for further information on TWEP's proposal to improve the entrance to the site.

Details of the right of way though the car park and details of how the application proposed to keep the entrance road clear during busy periods in the church were also requested as were proposals to address the conflict between pedestrians and vehicles in the church grounds. Mr Lavin noted that details of surface water disposal had not been submitted to the council and also looked for these.

He also looked for a detailed breakdown of car parking noting the TWEP should 'demonstrate that there is sufficient parking for users of the building by identifying the numbers of staff, visitors and nature of their visit, other car parking requirements including fully accessible spaces and proposed accessibility ramp'. Mr Lavin also looked for information of the proposed pedestrian access adjacent to the existing pedestrian crossing and details of proposed rear vehicular gate/access.

After Mr O'Leary submitted the further information on behalf of TWEP Mr Lavin said that he felt that the information submitted wasn't 'of sufficient quality and has not demonstrated or adequately taken into account the 12.5 metre drop in ground levels from the proposed entrance and access to the top of the site' adding that 'no details regarding cutting into the site were submitted'.

Mr Lavin also said that the sight-lines submitted are also insufficient with no details of what length of an old wall, which is in a conservation area, would be required to be removed to facilitate adequate sight-lines. He also said that details of an appropriate pedestrian crossing would be required and that 'no information has been submitted regarding the pedestrian gateway at the Templeshannon road.'

Mr Lavin concluded by noting that 'while not forming part of the planning application, insufficient details have been submitted as regards future intentions of the applicant for the remainder of the lands, which may have implications in the requisite design for the proposed entrance road and footpath.'

Refusing the application CEO of Wexford County Council said that 'it is considered that the proposed development may endanger public safety by reason of traffic hazard given the inadequacy of the information submitted for the proposed entrance and access way which fails to fully demonstrate the level of ground works required given the steep sloping nature of the site.'

He also said the application 'fails to adequately demonstrate that safety for pedestrian access of the Templeshannon Road and off the Spring Valley Road has been adequately considered'.

Enniscorthy Guardian