Plans for panoramic tourist viewing tower on wind farm site

THE company behind a €100 million wind farm in Co Clare also plans to create a 360 degree visitor viewing platform on the site.

The tourist attraction would be one of the first of its kind in Ireland.

The viewing gallery would allow members of the public to climb to the top of the hub to take in an extensive panorama view of the Atlantic Ocean to the north and views of the wind farm to the south.

Similar platforms have already been installed on wind turbines in Britain and Germany. The west Clare tower may be built similar to an existing one in Canada.

A similar viewing tower in Suffolk attracts up to 10,000 visitors every year.

A parking area will be constructed in the turbine hardstand area.

Michael Clohessy of developers Clare Coastal Wind Power said the proposed viewing tower would not be a money-making facility and would instead be used to attract thousands of new visitors to the area.

Clare Coastal Wind Power has confirmed that about 70 landowners will be paid €15m in rent over a 25-year period, subject to the project securing the necessary planning permission and connection to the national electricity grid.

The company has already signed expressions of interest with landowners on a site of about 25 acres to provide 45 wind turbine generators in the townlands of Shragh and Mountrivers, near to Doonbeg.

If planning permission and grid connection is secured, the company will enter into 25-year leases with landowners.

The company was advised by Clare County Council to consult with An Bord Pleanála, which will decide whether the planning application can be assessed by the appeals’ board as a development of national strategic importance without going through the normal planning procedures in the council.

Mr Clohessy expects to have another meeting with the appeals board in six or seven weeks and it is anticipated that a decision will be made shortly afterwards.

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