AN Bord Pleanala has overturned Cork County Council’s decision to grant planning permission for the demolition of a hotel in Owenahincha and the construction of nine new houses.
An Taisce and Stephen Evans Freke of Castle Freke Estate made submissions to the Board after the Council granted planning for the development last September.
The Board’s inspector concluded that the development represented ‘a very serious unsustainable, and indeed irresponsible, approach to planning for new development.’
The inspector specifically referred to the Council’s and Irish Water’s own documentation, which shows that the wastewater treatment plant for the Rosscarbery and Owenahincha is already ‘overloaded and is not compliant with emission limit values.’
‘It is not acceptable for Irish Water to state that it has no objection and to add no further comment, or clarity, on the deficiencies of the public system,’ said the inspector.
‘It is also unacceptable that the planning authority did not address this issue in any meaningful manner after the ecologist raised the serious concerns.’
The inspector said the development proposed by Patrick and Gillian O’Donovan – who could not be contacted for comment before going to press – would negatively impact the scenic approach road, and the adjoining Castle Freke estate, which is a protected structure.
Owner of the estate, Stephen Evans-Freke told The Southern Star: ‘I believe this was the right decision given the unaddressed ecological impact and incongruent visual disruption the proposed development would have had on the area.
‘We are passionate about protecting the extraordinary natural beauty of the Castlefreke area and its coastline for future generations,’ Mr Evans Freke added.
He said he ‘sincerely hoped’ that this decision will encourage any future local development plans to be sensitive to the natural beauty of the area.
This included any potential ecological or human health impacts on the wetlands and conservation areas, as well as the much-loved Owenahincha and Long Strand beaches