Friday 19 July 2019

Glebe NS gets permission for school works including a classroom extension

Myles Buchanan

An Bord Pleanála has granted permission for the Glebe National School to remove two prefabricated buildings and construct a two-storey classroom extension.

An appeal against the development claimed that Church Hill is one of the most 'significant parts' of Wicklow town and the proposed development was not in keeping with the immediate area. It was further claimed that the development would 'exacerbate' a serious traffic congestion issue in the mornings and afternoons and that the local road couldn't take such levels of traffic and that illegal parking on Church Hill was causing a serious issue.

It was also argued that the revised plans didn't adequately address privacy concerns and that the development would have an impact on the value of property.

The Board of Management of Glebe National School maintained that the purpose of the development was to improve the quality of classrooms. While the classrooms will be larger, there won't be an increase in pupils or staff numbers. The buildings on site are not protected structures and the new structure will have no impact on nearby protected structures, most notably the church opposite. The traffic congestion issues were acknowledged, but the Board submitted that there would be no additional traffic generated by the proposed development.

The An Bord Pleanála inspector recognised that Wicklow County Council considers the local road to be too narrow for any significant intensification of the school. 'It is quite clear that the immediate area around Church Hill is served by very narrow streets, so it is reasonable to assume it is quite chaotic during the key school hours. I would have concerns if the proposed development would substantially increase the scale and use of the school'.

However, the inspector was satisfied that while the overall floor space of the school will increase, there will be no significant increase in scale in the use of the school, beyond normal fluctuations due to demographic changes in the area.

It was also recognised that the school is long established on the site.

The inspector found that the classrooms would primarily face north and south and would not impact on the privacy of other properties in the area.

The inspector also stated: 'The prefabs are certainly inappropriate so close to the church. The proposed new classrooms are relatively low key'

While the development involves a number of alterations to the parking layout at the school, the inspector didn't feel these would result in an overall increase in traffic.

The inspector recommended that planning permission be granted, subject to some relatively minor conditions.

The overall application involves the removal of two prefabricated buildings, relocation of vehicle and pedestrian entrance and walls, construction of two-storey classroom extension, and associated site works.

Wicklow People