Tuesday 4 March 2008

Rock of Cashel houses allowed to remain

A DEVELOPER who built 52 holiday homes close to the Rock of Cashel has been granted "retention planning permission" for 32 of the houses.

South Tipperary County Council has granted the permission despite having previously issued an enforcement order demanding that all of the houses be demolished and the land restored to its condition "prior to the commencement of the development".

The builder, Liam Campion, has now lodged an appeal with An Bord Pleanála challenging the council's decision to withhold retention permission for the remaining 20 houses.

His Co Laois-based company, Campion Concrete Products Ltd, got planning permission more than two years ago to build a 120-bedroom hotel, an "international trade centre" and 52 holiday cottages on an elevated site at Ballypadeen outside Cashel.

Last May, after all the houses (but not the hotel or trade centre) had been built, planning officials inspected the site and decided that "the works had not been carried out in compliance with planning permission". The county council issued an enforcement order demanding that the company "cease all development at the site" and "remove the 52 houses". The council initiated legal proceedings which are currently adjourned at Tipperary District Court.

Despite ongoing litigation, Mr Campion sought and received planning permission allowing him to retain 32 of the houses and to reduce the size of the proposed hotel from 120 rooms to 78. However, he is "dismayed and incensed" over the council's attempt to force him to demolish the other 20 houses. He has accused planning officials of putting "250 jobs at risk", costing him "millions of euro in tax breaks" and jeopardising the €75 million project.

A decision on his appeal to An Bord Pleanála is expected in June.

Michael Parsons
Irish Times


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