An Bord Pleanála green lights Moycullen housing estate

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Galway Daily news Planning permission refused for Athenry housing development

An Bord Pleanála has granted planning approval for a mixed use development in Moycullen consisting of a 46 houses and commercial units.

The Bord granted planning permission to Baile Ui Choirc Fearainn Teoranta for the estate at Ballyquirke, Moycullen, on undeveloped lands at the north eastern end of the village centre.

An appeal was made to the higher planning authority after Galway County Council refused approval for the estate last September, with redesigned plans submitted to the bord for consideration.

The housing element of the development includes a significant number of assisted living houses, meant to enable older people continue to live on their own independently.

This element consist 13 one-bedroom and 1 two-bedroom units. The remainder of the housing in the plans consists of two and three bedroom duplex and terraced houses.

Also included in the plans are a childcare facility, a community café, and two commercial office units.

An Bord Pleanála attached nineteen conditions to the grant of planning permission for the estate, including a requirement for an archaeological appraisal of the site before development.

Galway County Council had refused approval for the development on the grounds that such a residential focus was not appropriate for lands zoned Village Centre.

The council also said that it was not satisfied that the estate wouldn’t have an environmental effect on nearby special areas of conservation, pose a road safety hazard, and a flood risk.

It was also stated by the council that the design of the estate fails to integrate with the existing character of Moycullen, and the it would affect the amenity of the are due to its visually dominant position on sloped lands and its “scale, height, mass and uniformity of
design”.

In response to county council’s argument that the plans were weighted to heavily towards residential usage the original proposal of 48 houses was reduced by two, and two offices were added in their place to increase the commercial usage to 12% of the total.

This is still less than the 30-50% level the council sought, but the developer argued that this would not be sustainable considering current commercial vacancy levels.

The developer also argued that expert reports including the Natura Impact Statement, Traffic and Transport Assessment, Road Safety Audit, and Flood Risk Assessment provided all the information the authority required.

Ten objections were received by An Bord Pleanála, nine from local residents and a submission from An Taisce, which reiterated many of the arguments initially made to the county council.

Locals expressed concern that this site has previously flooded, and said that the information submitted by the developer has not indicated recorded flood events.

It was also argued that there is no justification for approving a residential development in a village centre location, where planning permission has already been granted for other projects which will deliver more than 400 homes in the area.

Concerns were expressed about traffic and pedestrian safety with the added traffic on the existing road network, arguing that this proposal is premature before the provision of the Moycullen bypass.