An Bord Pleanala rejects plans for 104 houses in Loughrea

Galway daily news

An Bord Pleanála has shot down plans for a large residential development in Loughrea which would have involved building 104 houses.

Rocktop Asset Management Limited submitted plans for a Strategic Housing Development on a six hectare site in the Cosmona area of Loughrea, approximately 700m northwest of the town centre.

The site is divided into two parcels of land on either side of the new Cois Furáin estate, and would have been accessed through the existing street into this estate, which is off the Athenry road.

An Bord Pleanála refused planning permission for the housing development after expressing concerns that the site is at risk of flooding, and that, based on the information available, the board could not be certain this development wouldn’t affected the Lough Rea Special Protection Area.

The Board also said that the proposed development is not of  “sufficiently high density” for an efficient use of land so close to the built up area of Loughrea.

Ministerial guidelines issued in May 2009 indicated that net densities of less than 30 units per hectare should be discouraged for land such as this.

It was also stated by An Bord Pleanála that building these houses would result in a material contravention of the zoning objective in the Local Area Plan and County Development Plan.

Several houses would appear to be located on lands zoned for ‘open space, recreation, and amenity’ the board inspector said.

Rocktop Asset Management Limited had argued that the density of 28.3 units per hectare was out of a desire to create “home-zones” with a large amount of communal open space.

Part of the project would also have involved the development of a landscaped 1.8ha public park.

The plans submitted to An Bord Pleanála were meant as the first part of a larger masterplan for 343 houses on a larger area outside of this site.

In total, the board received 33 public submissions related to this project. These raised a number of concerns, such as the fact that the masterplan would account for almost all of the housing stock allowed under the current Local Area Plan, which would then be concentrated in one area.