Wicklow County Council has refused permission to construct 16 new apartments in Blessington.
Derek Whyte, on behalf of Liam Carroll, applied to the local authority in September 2021 for permission for the project, in respect of a site just off the town’s Main Street.
The project initially proposed the demolition of three existing derelict agricultural style buildings and the construction of a two-storey apartment block consisting of 18 apartments.
Several objections were lodged in relation to the proposed development. These raised concerns about safety risks, access rights and the potential for the development to overlook nearby properties to an excessive degree.
Further information was sought by the planning section about the application in November 2021. The applicant was asked to address the Chief Fire Officer’s concerns about access to the site for emergency services. Irish Water also requested a revised wastewater management proposal as the application initially suggested connecting a foul sewer to an existing surface water sewer.
More information was sought about the proposals to manage wastewater and storm water drainage, the potential impact of the development on a protected horseshoe archway at the entrance to the laneway and rights of way along a private laneway.
Revised plans were also requested for the layout of the development to deal with the risk of overlooking some adjacent properties.
New proposals were submitted by the applicant in June and included a reduction in the number of apartments proposed from 18 to 16.
However, these revised proposals did not sufficiently address the concerns of the Chief Fire Officer in relation to arrangements for the fire service. Additionally, it was felt by planners that the proposals did not outline how other emergency services would access the site.
Planners also raised concerns that the revised plans were not sufficient to mitigate the risk of possible damage to the horseshoe arch during construction.
A revised plan to connect the development to the wastewater network was not submitted by the applicant and the planning section felt that insufficient information was provided on this issue.
While the layout of the development was altered, planners were not convinced these changes reduced the risk of overlooking nearby properties to a sufficient degree.
Wicklow County Council’s planning section considered that the proposed development would be contrary to proper planning and the sustainable development of the area on three grounds. This included concerns about fire safety for adjoining properties, a possible risk to public health due to proposals to connect the proposed foul sewer into an existing surface water sewer at a location where no foul sewer exists and risk of overlooking an adjacent property.