A Co Kerry golf club has secured planning permission for an extension of its clubhouse, despite opposition from local publicans.
An Bord Pleanála has rejected an appeal by the Kerry Vintners’ Association against the decision of Kerry County Council to allow Ballyheighue Castle Golf Club to add to its existing facilities.
However, the board made it a condition that the clubhouse facilities be confined to uses directly associated with the golf club.
Ballyheigue members of the Kerry Vintners’ Association had complained that the golf club was using the clubhouse for functions contrary to the original planning permission for the building and that this was affecting their own businesses.
They highlighted how the club was advertising the clubhouse as a venue for christenings, anniversaries, and parties.
Pat Flahive, who runs Flahive’s pub on Main St, said it was a condition that the clubhouse would not be used for any functions or dances or live music after 9pm.
Kerry County Council was criticised by the publicans for not taking enforcement action.
In response, Ballyheigue Castle claimed the new building was “a modest attempt” to improve its facilities to cater for the club’s growing membership and to attract new ones.
It said the vintners’ group was the only party objecting to the clubhouse extension and that their argument was on financial grounds, which were “extraneous” to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.
However, an inspector with An Bord Pleanála said the golf club was mistaken, as land use was an issue and the board had previously attached a condition on the building’s purpose.
“The board’s previous decision did not allow for use of this premises for extraneous activities that were unrelated to the golf club use. This could not have been any clearer in the board’s decision,” the inspector added.
He noted that the golf club had not refuted evidence of its advertising its clubhouse for a variety of functions.
The inspector said if the details contained in the advertising were correct, it was apparent the clubhouse was not being run in accordance with its planning permission. However, he said any issue of non-compliance was a matter for Kerry County Council to address.