A RELIGIOUS order has applied to Clare County Council to have 32.5 acres rezoned for housing.
In the submission, the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Wood, based at Carrigoran, Newmarket- on-Fergus, are seeking that a sizeable portion of their land at Carrigoran be rezoned for residential use. Since 1974 the order has operated a 116-bed retirement centre, including a 20-bed dementia unit, at Carrigoran.
The centre is run on a not-for-profit basis and receives no direct State funding. With the Newmarket-on-Fergus bypass, the lands at Carrigoran have been cut in two. The nuns are seeking for a large proportion of their lands on the Newmarket side of the land bank to be rezoned.
The submission says the nuns own 95 acres including 22 acres of Lough Gash and they are seeking that 32.5 acres be rezoned for housing and 40 acres for open space.
The order has employed architects Murray Ó Laoire to lodge a comprehensive submission, noting that the 72 acres of land on the Newmarket side of the bypass was zoned for community use without the nuns having been consulted.
The submission states this was done “apparently at the behest of a third party who had no proprietary interest in the land but who had an interest in developing portion of the lands for community use”.
It argues: “The area zoned community use is clearly disproportionate to the scale of Newmarket and way beyond planned or projected need, as is evident from the existing local area plan map. The zoning also places a grossly unfair burden on the owner to provide such a disproportionate area of community zoned land for the benefit of community.”
The submission states that the proposed rezoning allows for 55 per cent of the site to be zoned as “open space” and protected woodlands and preserved as a natural amenity for the enjoyment of the entire community.
“These lands, if zoned as residential and open space, have the opportunity to help Newmarket- on-Fergus attract the critical mass of population required within the gateway corridor and to allow the town to grow commercially, socially and within a sustainable framework.”
In a blow to the nuns’ prospects, council planners have opted to retain “community zoning” in the draft plan presented to the council. A decision is expected before the end of the year.
The Irish Times