The National Parks and Wildlife Service were granted planning permission for a new parking lay-by along the N59 near Ballycroy to facilitate up to 20 cars, and two coaches despite concerns over shooting in the area.
The intention of the lay-by is to allow safe parking for educational field trips run by the Ballycroy National Park Visitor Centre which is located 8km away. The lay-by will be located in close proximity to the sea shore within the national park which will be used for field trips for primary and secondary pupils.
The proposed lay-by will be located along the N59 at Clagganmountain, Ballycroy approximately half-way between Mulranny and Ballycroy.
Permission was granted by Mayo County Council last August but this decision was appealed to An Bord Pleanala (ABP) by Jean Claude Maillet of the Rock House Estate, Claggan, Balycroy who is the owner at this location of extensive shooting rights.
In his submission to ABP, Mr Maillet stated that he has owned the shooting rights since the mid 1980s and runs a business where shooting parties comprising between two to six persons and accompanied by a guide participate in this sporting activity exactly in the area now affected by the proposed development.
He claimed that persons with shot guns shooting towards the direction of the car park would be extremely hazardous and humans wandering across the landscape would ‘render the entire shooting zone unusable’. He stated this was completely unacceptable and should not be ‘countenanced by the NPWS’.
In response, the NPWS acknowledged the shooting rights of Mr Maillet and agreed shooting towards the area of the car park would be ‘extremely hazardous’ but added that ‘shooting within sight of a national primary road would not be countenanced by the Gardaí or Wildlife Services alike’.
They also stated that people parking at the lay-by would be guided towards the shoreline on a looped walk and the main activity would take place during the summer and outside shooting season.
The ABP Inspector, Mary Crowley noted Mr Maillet’s objections and the ‘obvious health and safety issues’ but stressed issues pertaining to ownership and legal interest in land were not planning issues and are ‘therefore out with the remit of this appeal’. She found that the proposed development to be generally in accordance with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area and recommended permission to be granted subject to six conditions.
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