THE Catholic Church has joined the scramble to profit from new land designations in the Ennis area after a review of the local development plan.
Millions of euro could be earned if shops and other business outlets are allowed to develop on the land that currently houses the Ennis residence of the Bishop of Killaloe, Dr Willie Walsh. In a surprise move, the St Flannan's (Killaloe) Diocesan Trust is seeking to allow building on eight acres of prime development land at Bishop Walsh's Westbourne residence.
It is currently zoned as "other settlement land" but the Church wants it rezoned for mixed use development in order to allow residential, commercial and retail activities take place at the site. But planners say that the site is an Architectural Conservation Area (ACA) and that the dwelling, Westbourne House, is a protected structure.
A report points out that the site is within walking distance of community facilities, schools, retail and commercial services.
It goes on: "It should be noted that there is no identified need for additional zoned lands to meet the future needs forecast for the new plan period."