Anger as school refused planning

ANGRY county councillors are seeking a meeting with the new chairman of An Bord Pleanála after the planning appeals board refused an application for a much-needed primary school in Co Cork.

The issue was raised at a Cork County Council meeting yesterday by the leader of the Fine Gael party on the local authority, Cllr Michael Hegarty.

He said that for many years the people of Ballinacurra, near Midleton, had campaigned for their own primary school and just as they thought they were about to get it, their hopes had been dashed.

He pointed out that Cork County Council had granted planning for the school, which had the full backing of the Department of Education.

Cllr Hegarty then read out extracts from the Bord Pleanála inspector’s report on the application to the meeting.

He said the inspector had said there was no problem with the layout of the school and didn’t see it causing any traffic congestion.

“The only reason for the refusal was historic drainage problems on the site. This is absolutely crazy as we (the county council) would have ensured these were addressed. I can’t understand why they (An Bord Pleanála) couldn’t have simply have inserted a condition that no occupancy of the school be allowed until the drainage work had been done,” Cllr Hegarty said.

“I would ask my colleagues to support me and ask for a meeting with the new chairman of An Bord Pleanála (Mary Kelly) toaddress this,” he added.

Cllr Hegarty found immediate support from his counterpart in Fianna Fáil, Cllr Alan Coleman, who said he was also shocked that the charity Enable Ireland had just been refused permission by the planning body for a facility in Bishopstown.

“It’s a bad start to 2012 for us with An Bord Pleanála. Both the facilities were badly needed. We need to meet An Bord Pleanála to tease these issues out,” Cllr Coleman said.

It was agreed by all councillors that they write to Ms Kelly seeking a meeting with her and other planning officials to discuss the issue.

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