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Educate Together to appeal Westport planning refusal


OPENINGCllr Christy Hyland, Cathaoirleach of the West Mayo Municipal District, pictured with Principal Niall Quinn at the official opening of the Westport Educate Together School back in September.

Anton McNulty

EDUCATE Together has lodged an appeal with An Bord Pleanála against Mayo County Council’s decision not to grant planning permission for its proposed new school in Westport.
Last November, Mayo County Council refused planning permission for the change the use of the former social welfare offices on Prospect Avenue in Westport so that it could be turned into an Educate Together primary school.
The development also included the construction of an extension, modifications to the existing building and the creation of a play area to the front, side and rear of the building. It was stated that the old social welfare offices would contain four classrooms catering for up to 100 persons, including staff. The building is located in a cul-de-sac, and permission was refused due to the lack of parking facilities and a set down area.
Educate Together lodged an appeal with An Bord Pleanála on December 17 in an attempt to overturn Mayo County Council’s decision. The Westport Educate Together NS, which opened in September 2019, is currently located in a temporary location at Sharkey Hill Community Centre.

Design statement
In a design statement submitted in the original application, Axo Architects, on behalf of Educate Together, stated that the car-parking requirements associated with the school would be less than the car-parking provision associated with the former social welfare building. They stated that off-street car-parking is already in existence on the streets and car parks in the surrounding vicinity of the site, and they proposed to have a drop-off area located on John’s Row, with a pedestrian crossing and public path linking the drop-off zone to the school.
However, there were objections from two owners of homes on Prospect Avenue, who felt the location was not suitable for a school and would give rise to parking and traffic-congestion issues.
In the planning report, Mayo County Council planners stated that eight car parking spaces are required for this development and no car parking is available onsite. As a result, they said, the development would endanger public safety by reason of a traffic hazard, and permission was refused.
An Bord Pleanála is due to give its decision on the appeal by April 29.