North Longford housing development to go ahead as An Bord Pleanála rejects Aughnacliffe residents’ appeal

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North Longford housing development to go ahead as An Bord Pleanála rejects Aughnacliffe residents’ appeal

North Longford housing development to go ahead as An Bord Pleanála rejects Aughnacliffe residents’ appeal

An Bord Pleanála has rejected an appeal from the Colmcille Residents Association against the development of twenty-eight houses in Aughnacliffe.

Donnelly Developments Limited was previously granted planning permission by Longford County Council planners on December 10, 2019, to construct the dwelling houses and all ancillary site works at Forthill, Rathmore (Townland), Aughnacliffe.

That decision was subsequently appealed on January 14, 2020, by the Colmcille Residents Association to An Bord Pleanála, with the board announcing on November 30 that it is upholding the decision of the local authority, granting permission for the construction of the 28 dwellings to proceed, with 19 conditions attached.

Stephen Bohan, in the order from An Bord Pleanála, concluded that the proposed development in Aughnacliffe was in accordance with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.

“Having regard to the provisions of the Longford County Development Plan 2015-2021, the planning history and the zoning of the site, it is considered that, subject to compliance with the 19 conditions, the proposed development would not seriously injure the visual and residential amenity of the area, would not be prejudicial to public health and would be acceptable in terms of pedestrian and traffic safety.”

The initial planning application from Donnelly Developments Limited read;

Proposed construction and completion of existing residential development previously granted planning permissions under planning register reference numbers 04/1061 and 05/302 where it is proposed to construct 30 number dwelling houses consisting of (a) 12 number two-storey semi-detached three bedroom dwellings, (b) 15 number single storey semi-detached and terrace type two bedroom dwellings, (c) three number terrace type two-storey three bedroom dwellings, (d) provision of access from existing service roadway, (e) green open space, boundary fences/walls, internal access road, (f) connection to existing public services with sewer and water supply and all associated ancillary site works at Forthill, Rathmore (Townland), Aughnacliffe, County Longford.

The number of single storey semi-detached 2-bedroom houses was subsequently revised down by two, from 15 to 13. 

In their appeal, the Colmcille Residents Association expressed concern about unfinished estates. They wrote, “The development granted permission under P.A. Ref.’s 04/1061 and 05/302 resulted in the creation of an unfinished housing estate which has adversely impacted on the character and visual amenity of Aughnacliffe village. The appellants are opposed to this scenario happening again.”

They also raised concerns about social housing, footpaths and public lighting, drainage, layout and design; and Japanese Knotweed. 

Quaine Architectural Design Consultants, representing Donnelly Developments Limited, responded that ‘the proposed development would allow for the completion of Forthill estate, providing landscaped public open space with a new play area, community walkway links and access along the river for fishing’. It would also significantly improve the areas of public open space which were left incomplete and would improve the estate and enhance the village when complete.

Following a visit to the site, An Bord Pleanala planning inspector Brendan Coyne stated, “It is my view that the proposed development at this location would enable the sustainable growth of Aughnacliffe village, contribute to the viability of services, shops and public transport and increase housing supply in the village.”

He said there was ‘no evidence’ to demonstrate that the proposed development when completed would be used in its entirety as social housing, adding that footpaths and public lighting within the site and along the site boundaries linking the site to village, are satisfactory. 

Mr Coyne said he was satisfied that the drainage network has the capacity for the proposed development, that the layout of the proposed dwellings would not impact on the visual or residential amenity of existing dwellings or each other.

He indicated that only 4 stems of Japanese Knotweed were found on site and it was his opinion that this issue can be dealt with by way of condition.