Appeal to An Bord Pleanala regarding the ‘Le Chéile’ facility proves unsuccessful
A group from Rathgarogue dedicated to providing a large community centre – with numerous facilities for people – has been given the green light to proceed with their plans – after an appeal to An Bord Pleanala was unsuccessful.
Wexford County Council granted permission to Rathgarogue Community Co-operative Society Limited in January for the construction of a sensory/meditation garden, greenhouse, water feature, seating structure, playground, walking track, lighting, all weather pitch, tennis court, basketball court, village green, 59 vehicle parking spaces, site entrance, site access road and all associated site works at Gobbinstown, Ballyanne.
Planning also provides for outline planning permission for the construction of a single storey community building, provisionally called the Le Chéile Centre.
The decision involving the 4.5ac site was appealed by Rita Somers and others.
A number of third-party submissions were received, the issues raised within which can be summarised as follows: site location unsuited to proposed development, surface water drainage and flood risk, impact on adjacent farm animals and farmland, light/noise spill and other impacts associated with multi-use of the site, loss of privacy, impact on private water supplies in the area, traffic congestion and road safety, anti-social behaviour, overshadowing and impact on views and that the development is contrary to efforts intended to address climate change.
A joint appeal was submitted by Rita Somers, Martin and Esther Murphy, Niall Furlong, Sean and Mary Roberts and Emma Furlong, whereby each of the parties resubmitted the letter of observation provided to Wexford County Council.
Among the issues raised were that the proposed development is more suited to an urban area, where it would be accessible on foot and the impact on adjacent residential occupiers.
An increase in traffic volumes in the area following the opening of the new bypass was also raised.
One of the submissions outlined that drainage from the site, which is shown to drain through adjacent property and flow down to a farmyard, will contribute to overflows where the network is at capacity in winter.
A first party response to the appeals was received in mid-March. It highlighted that the applicant represents a number of residents and community groups.
“Extensive community engagement, including a feasibility study and door-to-door survey, was undertaken to establish the need for the proposal and the support for it is evident from the letters of support.” provided.
The report states that the proposed lighting scheme has taken into account neighbouring residences.
“There will be minimal, if any, impact on nearby housing.”
It states that overshadowing would not arise given the separation distance from neighbouring properties.
“The surface water drainage system includes a silt, oil and petrol separator. The site was divined by two independent experts, who found the same suitable water source,” the reports author states.
It was stated that there was no evidence of increased traffic volumes,
“The development provides a safe entry/exit to the site, with minimum sightlines of 65m, and parking will serve to alleviate congestion and dangerous parking in times of busy church services.
As for climate issues ‘the development will reduce the need for people in the area to travel to urban centres for recreation, thereby reducing emissions
“The community centre building will include environmentally friendly initiatives and will promote grow-it-yourself, promoting self-sufficiency.”
It was also claimed that the development will help reduce anti-social behaviour by providing activities to keep younger generations entertained.
Inspector Barry O’Donnell concurred with the Wexford planner’s decision and granted permission for the development, subject to some conditions.
“The proposed development is consistent with the provisions of Objective RS07 of the Wexford County Development Plan 2013-2019, which promotes the development of sport, recreation and amenity facilities in appropriate locations, in partnership with local community groups and, subject to compliance with conditions, the proposed development would represent an appropriate form of development, which would not seriously injure the visual amenities of the area or the amenities of property in the vicinity, would not give rise to a risk of flooding in the area and would not result in the creation of a road safety or traffic hazard,” said Mr O’Donnell.
“The proposed development would therefore be in accordance with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area,” he added.