Saturday 2 May 2009

Challenge to Wicklow 'tourist centre' lost

A LOCAL businessman has lost a High Court challenge to the granting of planning permission to Blarney Woollen Mills for a “tourist centre” at Laragh in Co Wicklow, including a craft/retail store and restaurant.

Joe O’Neill, Laragh, challenged An Bord Pleanála’s decision of September 12th, 2005, granting permission for the development on grounds including the alleged failure by the board to give adequate reasons for its rejection of its own inspector’s recommendation to refuse permission.

The proceedings were against the board, with Wicklow County Council and Blarney Woollen Mills Limited (BWM) as notice parties.

Mr O’Neill, who operates a shop that sells handknit woollens, natural tweeds and products directed towards tourists, said he was concerned about the impact of the development on himself, his business and its environmental impact on Laragh. The proposed development, on a site at the eastern end of the village on some 11 acres with a 400-metre frontage on to a regional road, was in an area of outstanding natural beauty and would seriously interfere with the visual amenities, he claimed.

Dismissing the proceedings yesterday, Mr Justice John Hedigan said the board’s inspector had concluded the proposed development should not be permitted on grounds including its “generally excessive scale” made it contrary to the proper planning and development of the area.

He also ruled that the board is not obliged under the Planning Act 2000 to engage in a lengthy review or analysis of its own reasoning when communicating its decision.

Irish Times

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