Surfers yesterday described Donald Trump’s €10m rock barrier plan to protect his golf resort at Doonbeg as “heavy-handed”.
The Co Clare resort faces onto Doughmore beach, which is the one of the most popular and highly regarded surf beaches on the west coast.
Consultants for Mr Trump warned if the rock plan doesn’t get the go-ahead, the resort risks potential closure.
Documents lodged with the planning application have stated a ‘do-nothing’ scenario “will bring the viability of the entire resort and its potential closure into question”.
The application has the backing of the local community with one farmer, John Flanagan, describing the 200,000 tonne rock barrier that will stretch for 2.8km along Doughmore beach as “a gift to the community” for Doonbeg.
However, a spokesman for the Clare-based West Coast Surf Club, David Flynn, was yesterday critical of the application.
“We would have concerns about the plan — it seems a very heavy-handed approach,” he said.
“We are not anti-development and we had a very good relationship with the golf club since 2002, but what they are planning is a quantum leap from previous proposals.
“Before, they were looking to protect short lengths of the beach, and they are now planning to protect the entire beach with a massive rock wall.
“We want the surf environment to be protected, and the worry would be to introduce a hard rigid line the full length of the beach across a dynamic system with the aim of protecting what is behind the line will damage what is in front of it on the beach.
“Something has to give, and our concern is that something in front of the line will give.”
The rock plans was lodged last month with Clare County Council by Mr Trump’s TIGL Ireland Enterprises Ltd.
However, the application was returned as the planners believe the rock plan may come under the category of ‘strategic infrastructure’.
As a result, the applicants have now referred the matter to An Bord Pleanála for pre-application consultations as to whether the application qualifies for strategic infrastructure.
If it does, the application will not be decided by the council and will instead be determined by the appeals’ board.
The board yesterday confirmed it has received documentation from Mr Trump’s firm regarding the pre-application consultation process that can take anything from a couple of months to a year.
However, the process could be concluded under the shorter time frame as the applicants already have exhaustive documentation in place to be examined by the board officials and no new information may be required.
Chairman of the Doonbeg Community Development Co, John O’Dea, said recently the rock plan has “the overwhelming support of the community”.
He said other communities along the west Clare coast facing the threat of erosion “would be delighted to have someone pay for coastal defences to protect their homes”.
Mr O’Dea said the coastal protection works will not only safeguard the resort but a huge amount of farm land as well, in the vicinity.
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