Appeal against intention to Grant Planning Permission

Local Authority: Roscommon County Council
Planning Ref. No: PD/01/461
Name of Applicant: Mr Paul Butler
Address of Applicant: Granny, Ballinameen, Boyle, Co Roscommon
Location of Development: Granny Townland, Ballinameen, Co Roscommon
Nature of Development: Construction of a dwellinghouse together with the installation of a domestic effluent treatment system
Date of Planning Authority Decision - 17/08/2001
20.126481
13th September 2001

The Secretary
An Bord Pleanala
Floor 3 Blocks 6 & 7
Irish Life Centre
Lower Abbey Street
Dublin 1





Dear Sirs

We wish to appeal the above decision of Roscommon County Council on behalf of our clients Friends of the Irish Environment on the following grounds:

(1) The documentation submitted with the Planning application is inadequate and does not comply with Article 23 of Part IV of the Local Government Planning & Development Regulations 1994.

(2) The proposed development is a contravention of the current Roscommon County Development Plan by virtue of its location, contributing to the erosion of the character of the rural landscape at this place. The proposed development constitutes ribbon development and is therefore contrary to the proper planning and development of the area. Taken in conjunction with existing development in the immediate vicinity (7 dwellings) the proposed development would give rise to an excessive density of development in a rural area lacking certain public services and community facilities and would contravene the policy of the Planning Authority as expressed in the current Roscommon County Development Plan, to direct residential development to serviced centres.

(3) It is clear from the submissions made in connection with the Planning application that this site cannot be drained satisfactorily by means of a septic tank notwithstanding the proposed use of a proprietary wastewater treatment system. The proposed development is therefore prejudicial to public health.

(4) The proposed development will endanger public safety by reason of traffic hazard because of the additional traffic turning movements the development would generate on a narrow substandard road at a point where sightlines are restricted in a northerly direction.

In spite of a Department of the Environment Circular, the local authority practices governing access to planning maps and documentation has severely restricted our ability to provide the Board with the level of detail we would wish or to enable us to guard against errors that rendered a previous and otherwise robust appeal against the Local Authority invalid (PL 20. 121715). Consequently detailed information on our grounds is only given in an Annex to this appeal.

The combination of the grounds of this appeal makes this proposal one that should have not been granted by any reasonable person. In this context, we respectfully seek the return of the appeals fee and our costs in making this appeal on behalf of Friends of the Irish Environment as the application did not reach the standards required by the legislation and should not have been accepted by the Local Authority.


Yours etc,
Friends of the Irish Environment


Annex to this appeal

Details of Grounds Of The Appeal

(A) The documentation submitted with the Planning application is inadequate and does not comply with article 23 of Part IV of the Local Government Planning & Development Regulations 1994.

The applicant has failed to provide proper certified soil percolation test results and water table trial hole results together with information on soil and subsoil types in accordance with the requirements of SR6 1991.

The applicant has failed to properly dimension the Site Layout Map submitted.

The applicant has failed to provide adequate information with regard to the slope of the ground.

The applicant has failed to provide adequate information with regard to the proximity of existing open land drains in the immediate area of the proposed percolation and reserve percolation areas.


(B) The proposed development is a contravention of the current County Roscommon Development Plan.

We attach herewith Map scale 1/2500 indicating the applicants proposed development site. We have also indicated the extent of existing residential development in the immediate vicinity of the applicants site (7 No. dwellings).

The proposed development contravenes the following section of the County Roscommon Development Plan 1993:

¬? Volume 1 Page 14, Development Strategy - Housing Policy and Objectives
¬? Volume 1 Page 22, The Environment - Aims, Policy and Objectives
¬? Volume 1 Page 32-33, Policy for Planning Control in Rural Areas
¬? Volume 1 Page 40, Standard for septic tanks.


(C) The proposed development is prejudicial to public health.

The FM Environmental submission dated 23/02/2001 gives details of percolation values and depth to water table. The above details are unclear and procedures laid down in SR6 1991 have not been followed. In particular we take issue with the following:

¬? no date given as to when tests were completed
¬? no information given on method of tests to comply with the requirements of SR6 1991
¬? no information submitted on who completed the tests. The submission simply states "Based on the percolation tests submitted, the following would be our recommendation". This indicates that some third party other than FM Environmental completed some form of tests.

The applicant's submission indicates percolation test failure, with acceptable water table test result. In this regard the percolation and water table test results are completely inaccurate and misleading. Soils on this site and indeed in the general surrounding area are mainly heavy clays, are waterlogged during wet weather, and have little or no percolation values. This site is covered with rush growth and has open drains on all sides. There is a southerly sloping valley drain to the rear of the site precisely where the applicant proposes to locate the percolation area. Simple visual inspection of the site clearly indicates existing surface water drainage problems, high water table and heavy clay soils with poor percolation values.

CONSEQUENT & RIBBON DEVEEOPMENT
There are at least 7 other dwellinghouses located adjacent to the proposed site in ribbon fashion. This trend has resulted in the proliferation of septic tanks all located in the immediate vicinity of the proposed development on unsuitable soil types. The proposed development will have serious implications for public health and groundwater contamination given the local poor soil and sub-soil characteristics.

We have examined the Planning file of an adjacent development granted Planning Permission recently by Roscommon County Council (PD Ref. 01-391). Our interest in this file lay in or concern over the location of the proposed septic tank and percolation area in a well-known turlough. We were surprised to find a submission from FM Environmental on this file with similar vague trial hole and percolation test results to those mentioned above. The Planning Authority accepted the information submitted by FM Environmental and the applicant is now developing his septic tank with Biofilter with a raised percolation bed in the centre of the turlough.
It appears that applicants can very easily obtain satisfactory site reports from commercial developers of sewage treatment systems once they agree to use the said system.

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