CLARE COUNTY Council has told Doonbeg golf club that it has concerns that its scaled down €2 million coastal protection plan may lead to other parts of the coastline adjoining the site becoming noticeably eroded.
The concerns expressed by the council form part of a raft of new information sought by the planning authority in relation to the Doonbeg golf club proposal.
The club wants to put in place a protection plan to the most vulnerable sections of dune, which are steep sections fronting the sixth tee and 13th green area and the 14th and fifth green areas on the Greg Norman-designed course.
A previous 2003 proposal was turned down by An Bord Pleanála and the club has now told the council if it does nothing, it would result in the dune system further eroding and would be detrimental to the viability of the golf club.
The application states that “essential parts of Doonbeg golf course remain at high risk from severe coastal erosion during extreme storm events with a combined high waves and storm surge”.
Placing the plan on hold, the council states: “There are concerns that to permit this proposal may lead to a situation whereby other parts of the coastline adjoining here become noticeably eroded, and as such impact on the dynamics of the beach, leading to a possible future situation where further coastal protection works may need to be carried out.”
The council has invited the golf club to submit its proposals on this issue and to include any proposals it may have for further coastal management work.
The council is also asking the golf course why a revised layout of the golf course has not been explored as an alternative erosion management measure.
“Notwithstanding that the proposal is for the protection of the existing course, it is considered that it should be demonstrated that there are no other feasible options of a review of the golf course design.”
The council has also taken into account the submission by the Department of the Environment over the proposal.
The council said that the mid-Clare coast special protection area (SPA) is of special conservation interest for cormorant; barnacle goose; ringed plover; sanderling, purple sandpiper and turnstone and the wetlands and its waterbirds are also of special conservation interest.
The department stated: “The appropriate assessment screening does not take into consideration the potential effects of the development on the SPA and its conservation objectives.
“The proposed development, alone and in combination with other plans and projects, including the existing golf course development, has potential to have significant effects on the candidate special area of conservation (SAC) and SPA and on the conservation objectives of these two sites. As a result, an appropriate assessment of the implications for these Natura 2000 sites is required under the EU habitats directive.”
It points out that the environmental impact statement lodged with the application states the proposed development has the potential to affect the conservation objectives of the SAC.