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An Bord Pleanála overrules inspector and blocks Ballyvary development


Anton McNulty

THE board of An Bord Pleanála has overruled the recommendations of their own inspector to refuse planning permission for a seven-house development in Ballyvary.
The application for the development at Ballyvary, Castlebar, came before An Bord Pleanála (ABP) after Mayo County Council had initially refused planning permission. The refusal stated the development would be unacceptable in terms of the proper planning and development of the area and would be a traffic hazard.
The original application by Caroline and Veitch McCombs was to develop three three-bedroom houses and four four-bedroom houses on a 0.626 hectare site along the N58 road to Foxford close to the junction for the N5 Dublin road.
An appeal was lodged with ABP by the McCombs in June of this year, and after a detailed report, an ABP Inspector, Paul Caprani, stated that he considered the principle of the development to be acceptable. He then recommended that Mayo County Council’s refusal be overturned and planning permission be granted.
However, following a meeting on November 30, the ABP board decided not to follow the recommendations of the inspector and refused permission. They stated that because the development was ‘outside the core facilities of Ballyvary Village, separated from the main settlement by the heavily trafficked national primary road, the N5’, they considered that ‘the proposed development would constitute disorderly housing development’ and the ‘expansion of the village north of the N5 would not be appropriate’.
The McCombs are based in Trim, Co Meath, but they have stated that they spend most of their time in Ballyvary. Mr McComb grew up in a house adjacent to the site where the development was proposed.

Councillor’s family object
Objections to the initial application to Mayo County Council were lodged by the wife and daughter of current Fine Gael county councillor, Henry Kenny. Mrs Maureen Kenny and  Deirbhile Ní Chionnaigh, both of Straide Road, Ballyvary, objected on the grounds of overdevelopment of the site, road safety, the development being out of character with the village and not in keeping with surrounding development sizes, and a lack of details on surface water.
In their appeal to ABP, John Halligan on behalf of the applicants, stated that while the site is identified as a rural area, it was council policy to support the growth and developments of towns and villages like Ballyvary.
A detailed observation was received from Deirbhile Ní Chionnaigh, who outlined a number of concerns about the proposed development. She claimed the development would cause a traffic hazard and there was no requirement for seven houses in the area. Other concerns surrounded the proposed pumping station, the location of a ‘foul sewer vent’ and the number of pupil spaces in Ballyvary NS to cater for the development.
In giving his recommendation, Mr Caprani stated that he believed that the proposed development, subject to 16 conditions, ‘would not seriously injure the amenities of the area or of property in the vicinity, would not be prejudicial to public health and would generally be acceptable in terms of traffic safety and convenience’.

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