A 90-ACRE piece of land in Co Tipperary, which was at centre of a planning controversy, is to be sold by public auction after the owners failed to get permission for a waste-disposal facility.
In the heart of racehorse country, the site, near Rosegreen village, is close to the Ballydoyle training and racing stables and just a few miles from the country’s leading stud farm, Coolmore. It will be sold by public auction on February 9th.
Clonmel auctioneer Patrick Quirke described the site as “absolutely top-class land” and “as good as you can get in the south of Ireland”. The sale is expected to generate considerable interest given its location in Tipperary’s equine belt and as an indicator of current land prices.
Mr Quirke said there was no guide price but that the cost of similar agricultural land had “fallen by 50 per cent, from about €20,000 per acre to about €10,000”.
“Land of this quality”, which he described as perfect for a variety of agricultural uses, would appear to be “good value” at €10,000 an acre, but he admitted that it was not yet known “where the bottom of the market is”.
He said the “Golden Vale land”, which has extensive road frontage, was suitable for grazing or tillage.
The holding is non-residential but Mr Quirke thought it would be possible for a buyer to get planning permission for a house. About 15 acres are devoted to a rendering plant, which is still licensed but not operational.
The land was owned by the Ronan family who are prominent in Tipperary business circles. In 2002, the family sought approval to build an incinerator to burn animal waste and bone meal on the site. The proposal attracted considerable opposition, including from Coolmore Stud’s John Magnier, and was abandoned.
Subsequently the family entered into a business joint venture company, Green Organics Energy Ltd, which sought approval for a €100 million plant intended to process waste from meat factories and household organic brown bins.
The company planned to process the waste using a system known as anaerobic digestion to generate “green” electricity for the national grid and to manufacture biodiesel for cars.
However the project also created national controversy and objectors again included the Ballydoyle stables and Coolmore Stud.
Leading racehorse trainer Aidan O’Brien said the proposed development “would have destroyed Ballydoyle” and “ruined all the land in terms of raising horses”.
After a lengthy investigation and a public hearing in 2008, An Bord Pleanála, while acknowledging “the desirability of providing such facilities”, rejected the proposal claiming that it would be “prejudicial to the viability of the equine industry” in south Tipperary.
Now though the sale is expected to generate considerable interest given its location in Tipperary’s equine belt and as an indicator of current land prices.