Monday 9 February 2009

An Bord Pleanála overrules own inspector to let Annascaul mast go ahead

RESIDENTS of an historic west Kerry village have vowed to continue their campaign against an Eircom mast after an Bord Pleanála overruled its own inspector to give the project the green light.

The people of Annascaul, birthplace of legendary Antarctic explorer Tom Crean, said they cannot afford to instigate a judicial review of the decision.

But they say they are determined to keep up their campaign of opposition to the proposed 15-metre mast, earmarked for a site in the heart of the village.

The fact that the planning appeals board gave the green light to Eircom for the development, even though a board inspector recommended that permission be refused, has angered local residents.

Senior planning inspector Robert Ryan said the mast would be contrary to proper planning for the area, would seriously injure the amenities of property in the vicinity, and would be "visually obtrusive" in the village.

A spokesman for a group of objectors said they were shocked and disgusted by the board’s decision.

"There was no consultation with the local community and we don’t believe enough research was carried out to find a more suitable location for the mast," he said. The mast is due to be located beside Eircom’s existing exchange in the grounds of the former Church of Ireland.

Possible health hazards and devaluation of property are among the reasons for objections by local people.

Kerry County Council refused planning permission for the mast last April under its policy of not allowing such masts within a kilometre of houses, other residential buildings, hospitals and schools.

Annascaul, in the Dingle Peninsula, is the birthplace of Antarctic explorer Tom Crean in whose memory a monument has been erected in the village.

Irish Examiner

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