Tuesday, 19 December 2006

Houses plan is rejected over threat to wildlife

From The Kingdom:

AN BORD Plean·la has refused planning permission for the construction of a 14-house development on the upmarket Ross Road in Killarney.
Killarney Town Council originally granted the development, subject to certain conditions, in April this year.
A third party appeal was subsequently submitted by the late Dr Bill Mangan and his wife, Dr Patricia Mangan, in May.
The proposed project, to be undertaken by Ross Road Developments, featured four different house types of a contemporary design and accommodation set over three floors. Front and back gardens were included for each dwelling.
A report from an inspector with An Bord Pleanala maintained that the site was governed by the policies and provisions of the Killarney Development Plan 2003 and had a particular low-density residential zoning.
Inspector Fiona Tynan also noted in her report that the nearby Killarney National Park was designated as a candidate special area of conservation.
A number of issues were stated in the third party appeal submitted by Mr and Mrs Mangan who argued that the development was in breach of the town
development plan, as a wall and widening and resurfacing of the existing internal roadway were outside of the residential zoned area.
In addition, the design and scale of the dwellings were described as being out of character with nearby residences and. It was claimed, it would contravene sections of the Killarney town plan. It was also suggested that the proposed development would interfere with the traditional jarvey, tourist, pedestrian and cyclist route.
A key aspect of the appeal was the report on the environmental impact the development would have on the flora and fauna of the area.
The appellants retained ecolo-gist, Dr Mary O’Connor, to give advice on the site and she stated in her submission that the site accommodated the lesser horseshoe bat, which is protected as a species of European importance under the European Union Natural Habitats Directive. Her report also stated that the lowland red deer herd, which use the site, is recognised as the only true native pure herd in Ireland.
Dr O’Connor concluded that the development of the site would lead to a restriction of habitat for protected species and the loss of buffer for protected species.
"The development would further lead to sub-urbanisation of extant areas of wildlife habitat within the current park bounds," the ecologist added.
In her final assessment, An Bord Plean·la Inspector, Fiona Tynan stated that a number of protected species occur on the site, such as the red squirrel, the Irish stoat and pygmy shrew.
She added that the environ-mental impact report showed that there was frequent activity by a badger social group and that Killarney National Park is the only site in Ireland where all 10 of the known Irish bat species have so far been recorded.
Ms Tynan subsequently recommended that permission for the proposed development be refused.

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