CLARE COUNTY Council has disregarded the objections of the Sisters of Mercy and other Lahinch residents and given permission for a contentious €25 million housing development in the resort.
Brendan O'Doherty, Paul Montgomery, Patrick Montgomery and John McInerney last year lodged plans to develop 114 residential units in the north Clare resort. The application attracted widespread opposition throughout Lahinch, with the nearby Sisters of Mercy describing the plan as a "concrete-jungle" proposal for the north Clare coastal village.
In the plan for a 9.5 acre site on Lahinch's Station Road, the nuns asked the council "to look at this development in light of the serious issues of anti-social behaviour on Station Road and the fact that the services to Lahinch, including sewage, water supply and electricity are seriously over-stretched".
In her submission, local resident Marie O'Donoghue reflected much of local sentiment when she claimed: "The character of the village is destroyed by the construction of too many holiday homes, which in turn is a threat to the tourism on which the village depends."
Ms O'Donoghue supported her argument by quoting from the census which shows that the population of Lahinch fell by 2.9 per cent between 2002 and 2006.
However, the proposed development site was zoned residential. Imposing 44 conditions attached to the permission, the council has reduced the number of residential units to 96, which includes 28 four-bedroom homes and 21 two-bedroom units.
As part of its continuing policy not to grant permission to any holiday homes, the council has placed as a condition that the homes be used as the principal place of residence of the homeowners and that the condition be included in the sale agreement of each home.
The council granted planning permission to the proposal having regard to the location of the site and the land being zoned residential in the North Clare Area Plan, the intended use of the lands and the pattern of development.
Moreover, the council noted the proposed development would not seriously injure the amenities of the area or property in the vicinity.
As part of the permission, the developers are required to pay Clare County Council almost €1 million in developer contributions.
The Irish Times