ST Catherine’s Association in Newcastle has been granted planning permission for the construction of an administration centre, adult day centre, gym and respite centre, after An Bord Pleanála ruled against an appeal.
Last year Wicklow County Council gave permission for the development at lands associated with the Holy Faith Convent in Kilcoole, Co Wicklow.
Permission was granted for the construction of a two-storey administration centre, single storey adult day centre, gym, respite centre incorporating four accommodation units and a waste water pumping station.
The application also included a new access road from the R761, Main Kilcoole Road, opposite the intersection with Loft Lane, car parks and associated site works.
However, a third party appeal against the decision was submitted to An Bord Pleanála by Charlie Keddy of Kilcoole, who wanted the green field site left as it is.
The Bord’s inspector noted that St Catherine’s Association currently meets the needs of approximately 250 children and families across County Wicklow, and has roughly 150 staff.
It was also noted by the inspector that St Catherine’s Association’s administrative and clinical staff are currently based in the Old Nurses Home on the grounds of the National Adult Psychiatric Hospital in Newcastle. This facility no longer adequately meets the demands of a modern and safe working environment.
The HSE has requested that St Catherine’s Association vacate the premises in the next two to three years to facilitate the expansion of its existing psychiatric services and move to a new modern campus at Kilcoole, which is the subject site.
The inspector recommended to the Bord that the development should be granted planning. Accordingly, the Bord refused the appeal, stating: “Having regard to the nature and scale of the proposed development, it’s location at the edge of Kilcoole town centre, in an area well served by public transport and close and accessible to services, residential areas, and public amenities, the provision of the Wicklow County Development Plan 2013 to 2022 and the Greystones, Delgany and Kilcoole Local Area Plan 2013 to 2019, including objectives CD18 and CD19, it is considered that the proposed development would not seriously injure the residential or visual amenities of the area or property in the vicinity, would respect the existing character of the vicinity, and be acceptable in terms of traffic, pedestrian safety and convenience. The proposed development would, therefore, be in accordance with the proper planning and sustainable planning of the area.”
Minister for Heath Stephen Donnelly has welcomed the decision.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to see St Catherine’s Adult Day Centre getting full planning permission. The committee had been waiting for weeks to get the thumbs up from An Bord Pleanála and finally got the answer they were looking for today.
"It’s a major hurdle now overcome as they look to develop a state-of-the-art facility on a new site in Kilcoole. The new building will have an adult day centre, gym as well as a respite centre which will do wonders for both the users and their families when it is in place."