Thursday 15 November 2007

Locals rise up against helipad and hangar at Dublin mountains

A proposal by a businessman to locate a helipad and hangar on the periphery of the Dublin mountains near the Hellfire Club has been appealed to An Bord Pleanála by one of his neighbours.

Henry O'Kelly, managing director of a saw mill and showrooms known as "The Shed Man" at Killakee, off the Killakee Road in Rathfarnham, Dublin 16, was granted planning permission for a five-year period by South Dublin County Council in October to build a landing pad for his helicopter and a 172sq m (1,851sq ft) hangar building on lands at Woodcutter's Lodge. The helipad would be beside Massey's Woods which are maintained by Coillte.

A case officer from South Dublin County Council who inspected the site said the use of a helicopter "can be considered a permissible activity in the rural zone". This grant of planning permission came after a long-running planning saga dating back to March 2005 when a planning enforcement notice was served on O'Kelly following complaints from locals about the unauthorised use of a helicopter and the construction of a helicopter hangar on his lands.

He subsequently lodged a planning application seeking retention of the helipad and hangar, which was refused permission by the council and An Bord Pleanála. He submitted another planning application seeking permission for the helipad and hangar on a different site which was accompanied by a noise impact assessment report and was granted planning permission.

However, Paul Diamond and Breda O'Meara Diamond - who live 200 metres east of the proposed development - have appealed this permission to An Bord Pleanála. They contend that the noise impact assessment survey submitted to the planning authority has no details of prevailing weather conditions, wind direction or temperature or the times of take off and landing of the helicopter during the monitoring periods.

They say the measurements were taken on a working day when the factory was in operation - "no independent observer from the planning authority attended the site during the manned monitoring programme. Nor was there any representative of the adjoining neighbours in attendance to witness these measurements," says the letter. They also say the helipad would be close to high amenity zoned lands bordering Massey's Wood and Hellfire Club lands, and would have a negative impact on public recreational amenities.

The Irish Times

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