Board refuses plans for €40m Ennis hospital

CONTENTIOUS plans for a €40 million private hospital for Ennis have been thrown out by An Bord Pleanála.

The appeals board refused planning permission to John Stack and Pat Bonner on a number of grounds to construct the 100-bed hospital plan at Shanvogh, Woodstock, Ennis.

Last year, members of Clare County Council voted 28 to 3 in favour of rezoning land at Woodstock in Ennis to give the developers the green light for the 100-bed hospital plan.

However, residents appealed the decision to An Bord Pleanála along with local businessman, Shane Flanagan, who contended he had a separate zoned site that was open for hospital use elsewhere in Ennis.

One of the three councillors to vote against the proposal, Cllr Brian Meaney said yesterday: “This decision by the board was inevitable. This development was inappropriate, purely speculative, and a case study of what went wrong during the boom years.”

In its order, the board pointed out “the site of the proposed development is removed from the centre of Ennis, in a relatively undeveloped area on the rural fringe of the town, and is currently constrained in terms of accessibility wastewater collection and treatment capacity”.

As a result, the board ruled that having regard to the pattern of development in the area the location would represent a disorderly approach to development.

The board also ruled the proposed development would be premature pending the determination by the planning authority of a road layout for the area.

The inspector in the case said the fact that Ennis is a hub town, as designated by the National Spatial Strategy, is not considered to be justification for a hospital in itself, adding that there are other available lands within Ennis where hospital use was open for consideration.


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