Re: Activity centre office/ facilities, effluent treatment plant and ancillary site development works Lough Dan Adventure Centre, Carrigeenshinnagh, Roundwood, Co. Wicklow.

Ref: Wicklow County Council 99/770
Dear Sir,

We have been in instructed, by Friends of the Irish Environment c/o Tony Lowes, Ahillees Co. Cork and the local people, either resident or with an interest in adjacent lands, listed below to object to the granting of planning permission by Wicklow County Council for the above development for the following reasons:

1) The application is invalid because the incorrect fee has been paid.

2) The advertisement and site notice do not reflect the proposed development.

3) It is not legal to grant an extension or variation to an unauthorised development.

4) The proposed development impinges on a Candidate Special Area of Conservation.

5) Duchas were not informed of the proposed development as required under the Habitats Directive and implementing legislation.

6) The appropriate assessment of the proposed development has not been carried out.

7) The traffic problems associated with the current unauthorised use, and therefore the further traffic problems, which would be associated with the proposed development.

8) Granting permission

9) Condition No. 8 of the Planning Authority decision

10) Flooding

11) Visual Impact

12) Planning History of the surrounding area.


1.0 The application is invalid because the incorrect fee has been paid.


1.1 No fee has been paid as to this application as is supposed to be an appliciation by a registered charity; it is our submission that this is an application for a commercial development. (See attached pages from the web site)


2.0 The advertisement and site notice do not reflect the proposed Development.


2.1 The climbing wall is an integral part of this proposed development, it is not mentioned in the advertisement and site notice.


3.0 It is not legal to grant an extension or variation to an unauthorised development.


3.1 Condition 1 of the Boards decision in Planning Authority ref no. 82/ 84 of the 23 January 1985, which states:


"Camping shall be confined to the FIEld adjoining the toilet block to the south and the land to the north between the public road and the lake. The site shall be used for camping and training purposes by not more than 130 (one hundred and thirty) persons at any given time. This figure includes the accommodation available at Lough Dan House. Use of the site shall be confined to bona fide scouting organisations."


3.2 The site is available for hire by schools and corporate groups by day and/or for camping and overnight stays and therefore it is clear that this condition is not being complied with and that the developer has no intention of complying with it in the future. There is no reference to this unauthorised use in the file by either the developer or the Planning Authority.


3.3 It is clear from the attached letter from Edmund Kenny to Mr. Maurice Boate that on the 21st May 1999 and the 2nd June 1999 that the number of persons on the site exceeded 130.


3.4 It was claimed on Nationwide that the use of the facility exceeded 20,000 bed nights, this is an average of 400 a week over the whole year and if one was to seasonally adjust the figure we suggest that they have exceeded 130 persons sleeping on site; add to this the day visitors and staff the condition requiring a maximum of 130 person on site must have been exceeded on a regular basis.


3.5 We refer to the letter from Theo Phelan Design dated 19th May 2000 where it states at no. 1 "There is no intention to depart from the general use of the site by 130 persons at any given time (same for special events.) (sic)" In the Breakdown of Expected Hydraulic Loadings it states in Visitors/Campers that "It is expected that the number of visitors/campers will not at any stage exceed 310 persons." There is clearly a conflict here.


3.6 It is our submission that the Board's reason for Condition no. 3 of Board Decision 82/84 was that the existing traffic problems connected to this development required rectification.


3.7 The fact that the Planning Authority at 4 (a) states that the roadside boundary wall shall be set back from the public carriageway indicates to us that the requirements of condition no. 3 of the Boards decision have not been complied with.


3.8 It is also our submission that the detailed landscaping scheme, condition no. 8 of the Boards decision have not been carried out.


4.0 The proposed development impinges on a Candidate Special Area of Conservation


4.1 Part of this site is in the Wicklow National Park Candidate Special Area of Conservation, and the whole of Lough Dan is in this Candidate Special Area of Conservation. From the maps in the Council of this Candidate Special Area of Conservation it is difficult to access exactly where the boundary of the Candidate Special Area of Conservation is relevant to the proposed development.


4.2 The discharge from this proposed development will enter a Candidate Special Area of Conservation.


5.0 Duchas were not informed of the proposed development as required under the Habitats Directive and implementing legislation.


5.1 There is no evidence that Duchas were informed of this application. Neither is there any evidence that the planning officer had access to the full file.



6.0 The appropriate assessment of the proposed development has not been carried out.


6.1 As there was no submission referring to the Candidate Special Area of Conservation and no mention of the Candidate Special Area of Conservation in the Planner's Report, in the conditions or in any of the other reports on file, it is clear to us that the appropriate assessment did not take place.


6.2 There is no evidence that the manager was possessed of the full information including the facts that the site was a Candidate Special Area of Conservation, that the discharge was into a Candidate Special Area of Conservation, and Board Decision 82/84.



7.0 The traffic problems associated with the current development, and therefore the further traffic problems, which would be associated with the proposed development.


7.1 Notwithstanding the above points, we submit that had the application fulfilled the legal requirements, it should have been refused or severely conditioned to alleviate the traffic problems, which are already caused by the existing unauthorised use and which will obviously be increased should the proposed development be permitted without severe traffic conditions. For example no coaches exceeding 20 seats should be permitted to access to the development. All parking associated with the development should be in the car park. No stopping of vehicles on the lane. At present there is a potentially dangerous situation which would impede emergency services.


8.0 Granting permission.


8.1 The letter from Theo Phelan Design of 19th May in response to the request for further information states at indent 3:


"We attach sketch plans showing sections/elevations of the retaining wall. Details of construction will be determined at a later date by our structural engineers."


8.2 There is no condition even for the design of this structure to be agreed with the Planning Authority.


8.3 This is therefore a planning permission to build a structure based on a "sketch"


8.4 This structure is not mentioned in the advertisement or the site notice.


9.0 Condition No. 8 of the Planning Authority decision.


9.1 Condition No. 8 of the Planning Authority decision states


The developer……..operation of the site as a caravan park."


9.2 There is no application for a caravan park before the Planning Authority, therefore it is unlawful to grant planning permission for a development for which planning permission has not been applied for.


10.0 Flooding


10.1 It is our submission that the virtually the entire site is inside the 50 year flood plain, in fact it has flooded twice within the last twenty years, therefore the granting of a planning permission for a sewage facility in a flood plain either in or adjacent to a Candidate Special Area of Conservation could not be considered proper planning and development of an area.


10.2 It is our submission that the percolation area is within the 20 year flood plain and also contains a well.


10.3 In view of the fact that the existing commercial development requires a waste water discharge licence we would welcome a decision to upgrade the sewage facilities, however the proposed system will be the equivalent to a small town.




11.0 Visual Impact


11.1 It is our submission that this proposed development materially contravenes the County Development Plan as it impinges on a special amenity area and on the views and prospects in particular from the Wicklow Way.


12.0 Planning history of the surrounding area.


12.1 The Planning Authority has refused virtually all application for housing in this area and even essential housing has proved extremely difficult. The importance of the species in and around the lake will require strict conservation measures both now and in the future. In the absence of an appropriate assessment which would amongst other things define the carrying capacity of the area we submit that the precautionary principle must be applied. It is very probable that the granting of permission for a commercial development of this size will result in the local authority being obliged to refuse all future permissions even where there is an essential housing need. This will effectively sterilise the area and exclude any future development by the local community.


Conclusion


This is an invalid application, an invalid grant of permission and notwithstanding the invalidities the proposed development could not be considered proper planning and development of the area.


Permission should be refused.


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