Michael Healy-Rae refused planning for apartments in vacant Tralee pub

Anne Lucey

TD Michael Healy-Rae has been refused planning for apartments in a vacant public house in Tralee, with the planning inspector describing what was proposed as “substandard” and meeting only minimum requirements.

Mr Healy-Rae who represents Kerry is already the Dáil’s biggest landlord with up to 10 rental properties. However, his proposal for the part-conversion of Nancy Myles Pub, opposite the old army headquarters of the Munster Fusiliers in Tralee, met with strong local opposition. The original application was for change of use of most of the ground floor and extension to Nancy Myles public house to nine residential units.

Following a revised application, permission for four apartments was given by Kerry County Council.

More than a dozen residents of Ballymullen and surrounding areas lodged appeals and observations. The nearby residents said the redevelopment would injure their amenities and devalue their properties.

They also said there was a lack of clarity about future plans for the remaining part of the pub and two storey building.

The building is subject to flooding, they also claimed. Invasive Japanese knotweed is present on the site and there is not adequate parking.

However Mr Healy-Rae, through his agents, said the target market is professional people working in the nearby hospital and renovating the vacant property would actually enhance the Ballymullen area. He also said though there is flooding in the area, the building itself has not flooded in the past.

Bord Pleanála inspector, Kevin Moore, who visited the site said that although the zoning is residential, “there are serious concerns about the nature and extent of development for this site.” He noted significant works were being carried out in clearing the whole building.

The original application sought to convert the ground floor to nine bedsits,.

“This proposal was seriously substandard for human habitation purposes in terms of space, light, amenity, parking, etc,” the inspector said of the proposal for nine bedsits.

The Council permission was for four apartments to the rear of the public house at ground floor level.

The totality of what is proposed was clearly overdevelopment of a restricted site, he added.

He “seriously called into question” the viability of the proposed apartments as living spaces that would have a standard of amenity to permit habitation in a satisfactory manner.

“I note that the proposed apartments each just meet the very minimum floor area standards,” the inspector said.

Only partitions would divide two of the units from the pub and there must be serious concerns about noise and disturbance and he questioned the adequacy of amenity space.

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