A GROUP representing residents in the Tipperary-Clare border towns of Ballina and Killaloe on the banks of the River Shannon say that a €60 million residential and commercial development planned for the area is too large in scale and "would be more at home in the Dublin Docklands".
The claim has been rejected by Eclipse Developments which has applied to North Tipperary County Council for planning permission to build a development that would include 85 apartments, five townhouses, 16 commercial units, 260 boat berths and a bar and restaurant on its riverside site at Derg Marina, Cullenagh, Ballina.
At a public meeting convened by the Ballina Marina Action Group in the Lakeside Hotel last night, group chairman Joe Cahalane said: "The sheer scale of this development is far too big for this picturesque heritage town. The buildings proposed would be more at home in the Dublin Docklands or a university campus."
He said the project was "masquerading as a marina development when it is, to all intents and purposes, a massive apartment complex rising to five storeys at its highest point".
His group was not against development on the site, but objected to the scale of the proposal.
David Lehane, head of Eclipse Development, said the company had addressed the concerns held by the majority of local residents in the pre-planning phase, "but there remains a very small number of people who continue to oppose the development."
He said the €60 million investment would be worth in the region of €6 million annually to the local economy. If planning was granted, it would create 120 jobs over the two-year construction phase and 70 jobs on completion. "It's disappointing that a core group of individuals are seeking to deprive the area of such a development."
Mr Cahalane of the action group accused the company of a "dismissive attitude" saying the site abounded a special protection area and special area of conservation. "We asked for an environmental impact assessment, but we never got one," he added.