An Bord Pleanála shoots down county council housing plans

Galway Daily news Planning appeal over 91 houses & apartments in Athenry

Galway County Council’s application to build a housing development near Oughterard has been rejected by An Bord Pleanála.

The county council was seeking approval for a housing scheme with 13 units at Claremount, Oughterard consisting of nine single storey, two-bed houses and four two-storey, two bed homes.

The site for the scheme was north of the existing Sruchán An Chláir housing estate and 1.225km away from Market Square in Oughterard.

A Natura Impact Statement was submitted with this application due to the project’s proximity to Lough Corrib and the Owenriff River, which are protected areas.

The NIS said that there would be no environmental impact if mitigation measures were undertaken during construction.

But concerns were expressed by the Department of Culture, Heritage, and the Gaeltacht about the lack of an ecological assessment and potential impacts on the Freshwater Pearl Mussell.

A total of 14 public submissions were also received by the planning authority objecting to the housing project.

The application was rejected by An Bord Pleanála on environmental grounds, saying that it wasn’t satisfied that the project “would not adversely affect the integrity of the European Sites, the Lough Corrib Special Area of Conservation and the Lough Corrib Special Protection Area”.

The remote location of the site was also noted by the planning authority as a reason for refusal.

“Having regard to the lack of a pedestrian linkage and the excessive walking distance to the centre of Oughterard, the absence of public transport to the village centre and the lack of social and community facilities in the vicinity, it is considered that the proposed development would be excessively car dependent”.