Major apartment and retail block refused planning

PLANS for a major apartment and retail block in Ardee have been dealt a major blow after developers Solvang Ltd were refused planning permission for the project by Louth County Council recently.

PLANS for a major apartment and retail block in Ardee have been dealt a major blow after developers Solvang Ltd were refused planning permission for the project by Louth County Council recently.

The company had sought permission for the demolition of a dwellinghouse and boundary walls at Bridge Street and Boat Trench, Ardee. It was their intention to construct four apartment/retail blocks comprising two, three and four storey buildings over basements.

The development would have included 17 two bedroom apartments, 13 three bedroom apartments, five four bedroom apartments, a ground floor restaurant, seven retail units and an underground car park containing 78 car parking spaces and plant rooms.

As part of the development, Solvang Ltd also had plans for a landscaped garden with a children’s play area within the open space area, a bin storage area, a vehicular access ramp to the underground car park and a loading bay on the Boat Trench Road. They also had plans for two lift shafts and stair access towers while they had hoped to construct a river side boardwalk with access from the public footpath. The development was also to include a petrol interceptor and water harvesting storage tanks.

The company put forward their ambitious plans to the council in early June but they were rejected at the start of the month following submissions against the development by Kells Road resident Conor Fahy, An Taisce and the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

Mr Fahy of Bohernamoe noted in his submission that Boat Trench Lane/Street is “extremely narrow” and said that the traffic generated by the proposed development “is totally unsuitable for this road.” He also brought to the council’s attention a lack of a proper loading area and pointed out that the total car space provision was significantly less than the recommended ratio per resident.

He said that the development was contrary to the Ardee Local Area Plan and out of character of the area, adding that it would “destroy the medieval perspective of the town by its height, design and position.”

He also argued that the development would harm the viability of existing shopping units in the town. An Taisce and the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht also expressed concerns over the area’s archaeological significance.

In the end Louth County Council rejected the planned development on eight fronts.

In his report, County Manager Conn Murray said that the development would discharge to the Ardee Waste Water Treatment Plant which is currently operating at full capacity and it was not possible to extend its work at the current time.

He also pointed out that the site is located within the Ardee one of Archaeological Potential and therefore any development in this area must not be detrimental to the character of the site or its setting. He said the applicants Solvang Ltd had failed to submit sufficient information to ensure this would not be the case.

He also said that the development would by reasons of its scale, height, style and incongruity of built form materially contravene policies in the Louth County Development Plan and the Ardee Local Area Plan.

Mr Murray also found that Block C was only three metres from the southern elevation of an existing residential property and because of Block C’s height this would “seriously injure the amenities and depreciate the value of property in the vicinity.”

He also noted that the development would require the removal of trees and verdant landscape which would adversely affect the visual amenity and habitat qualities of the River Dee.

Finally, he found that the development provides for access solely onto the adjoining Boat Trench Road and he pointed out that the applicants had failed to submit details of swept paths at the access to the site for large vehicles. There was also no details on footpath provision to accommodate pedestrian traffic and “hence the applicant has failed to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the planning authority that the proposed development would not endanger public safety by reason of traffic hazard and obstruction to road users.”