CLARE COUNTY Council has given the go-ahead for a €5 million national surf lodge on Lahinch’s prom in spite of concerns by local surfers.
Earlier this year, Séamus Carroll lodged plans to demolish the existing McDonald’s amusement arcade on Lahinch prom and replace it with the new watersport facility.
This would include an indoor “flow-rider” or wave machine for surfers or learners to practise.
The four-storey plan over ground, with one storey below ground level, is to comprise a 29-room activity centre, two retail units, bistro, board rental unit and activity centre.
The proposed development lies opposite the Spinnaker development and adjacent to Lahinch Sea World.
The proposal sparked opposition from the Lahinch-based West Coast Surf Club. A submission lodged by club chairman Dave Flynn stated that the proposed building “is inappropriate for its setting”.
He added: “The skyline of Lahinch, particularly when viewed from the promenade, beach or the sea, is already distorted with development of a scale not generally associated with a small town.
“It is not desirable to further impact on this. We will also query the demand or requirement for additional retail space when there are currently several existing units, including recently constructed units, empty in the village.
“In summary,” Mr Flynn said, “neither the West Coast Surf Club nor the Irish Surf Association support the application for this development.”
The owner of Ireland’s oldest surf shop, Tom Buckley, also objected.
In his objection, he said: “The whole concept behind this building seems to be reminiscent of the worst excesses of our recent building boom.”
However, the council planner in the case stated that “the overall design concept and proposed usage lends itself to a creative form of architecture and gives an opportunity for an interesting development”.
The council gave planning permission having regard to the urban nature of the site, the intended use of the proposed building and the policies of the current development plan.
In its decision, it ruled that the plan would not seriously injure the amenities of the area or of property in the vicinity and would be in accordance with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.
The developer Mr Carroll has been requested to pay the council just under €300,000 towards upgrading local infrastructure.