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Public meeting over Claremorris BioPark planning permission

Public meeting over Claremorris BioPark planning permission

Michael Commins

THE decision by Mayo County Council to grant planning permission for the proposed Claremorris BioPark on a 22-acre site at Kilbeg, near Claremorris, has taken opponents by surprise. The promoters resubmitted fresh plans after their initial submission was refused last year.
Locals opposed to the development have called a public meeting tonight (Tuesday, March 19) at 8pm in Claremorris Town Hall. It is expected that a fresh campaign  will be put in place and that further appeals against the decision will be discussed at the meeting.
The promoters say Claremorris BioPark represents more than a €30 million project investment in the midwest region.
In a statement, to The Mayo News, they said they looked forward ‘to becoming a valued and respected part of the local community and playing a major role in the economic development of the Midwest region’.
“The projected employment for the investment, when it goes into production in twenty four months time, is approximately 170 jobs across a broad range of skills, with roles ranging from management, scientific and engineering to process and logistics. It is projected that on average 250 people will be employed at any one time during the construction period and it is estimated that there will be at least 35 indirect jobs as a result of virgin timber harvesting and logistics.
They explain the park will have an onsite manufacturing and distribution facility for wood pellets.
“The plant will provide wood pellets for the Irish market. The CHP plant will supply the heat for the processing of the wood pellets. The raw material for the wood pellet manufacturing will be delivered to the site from local sustainable forests and from sawmills in the region. The Claremorris BioPark now becomes an example of renewables integration supporting commercial and industrial generation.”
However, opponents cite a previous statement by a Mayo County Council planning official who expressed concern about the immense ‘scale and form of the proposal’.
A spokesperson said that Claremorris has been positioned as a high-end tourist destination, with amenities such as golf, fishing, athletics, tennis, and football, together with the increased business for the town from the McWilliam Park Hotel.
“That’s what we said last year and we want to state it again. These views will be highlighted again at the public meeting in town on Tuesday night,” he said.