Fresh woe for Longford GAA

Longford GAA this week experienced further headaches over its proposed Centre of Excellence after an inspector for An Bord Pleanála reported he is “not convinced” the plan will not increase the risk of flooding in the area.

Longford GAA this week experienced further headaches over its proposed Centre of Excellence after an inspector for An Bord Pleanála reported he is “not convinced” the plan will not increase the risk of flooding in the area.

Longford County Board was granted planning permission by Longford County Council in October 2011 for three all weather pitches, 18 floodlights, a 1,392 metre square clubhouse and car park in Lyneen, Killashee. However, two appeals were subsequently lodged with An Bord Pleanála.

In correspondence this month with the County Board, An Bord Pleanála said it had serious concerns in relation to the ground conditions of the site and the implications the proposed development would have on water resources and flooding.

The main concern of An Bord Pleanála’s inspector relates to the development of pitches on ground that is “completely saturated and where the water table is approaching ground level.”

While engineers working for Longford County Board propose to strip the topsoil and lay a base of 320mm for the pitches to rest on, the inspector questioned the stability of these pitches when so little excavation is proposed and when the water table is so high.

“In my opinion, there may be requirement on this site to lower the water table with piped drainage to allow greater storage capacity for rain water. Additional drainage and removal of water from the site would would increase the likelihood of this water ending up on third party lands,” he said.

The inspector goes on to say that he is “not convinced” the development of pitches covering an area of approximately 38,000 square metres would not constitute an increased risk of flooding on adjacent lands.

He concluded by saying that engineers representing the County Board had failed to fully address the reasons for a previous refused application on site and that “planning permission should be refused for the proposal.”

After considering the submissions, the Board states that it may not be possible to develop playing pitches of a suitable quality at the existing ground level without lowering the water table or raising the ground level due to the susceptibility of the lands within the site to water logging and flooding. An Bord Pleanala have now given the County Board until September 6 to address the issues raised.