An Bord Pleanala

Re: 06/4208 Wicklow County Council

For Tony Lawlor

At Kilmurray South

Retention of extraction of gravel from pit.





Dear Sir,


We have been instructed by,

Friends of the Irish Environment c/o Ciaran O'Brien, Herbert Villa, Kingsmill Road Bray

Wicklow Planning Alliance, C/o Judy Osborne Sweethill, Ashford

Peter Crinnion, Shangrila, Quill Rd. Kilmacanogue.

Pauline Corley. An Grianan, Quill Rd. Kilmacanogue.

Patrick Lawlor. Hillside House, Quill Rd. Kilmacanogue.

Robert Patterson. Newhouse, Quill Rd. Kilmacanogue.

Brian MacDonnell. Heathfield, Glen of the Downs,

Tom Kinsella. Astral, Quill Rd. Kilmacanogue to object to the above grant of planning permission for the above retention of unauthorised extraction of gravel at Kilmurray South, Kilmacanogue County Wicklow.


An Environmental Impact Statement was eventually submitted to this appliciation. Further Information was sought and supplied in a number of separate submissions.

We object for the following reasons.

1. Material Contravention of County Development Plan.

2. No statutory site notices erected.

3. Inadequate Newspaper Advertisements.

4. No public consultation on Further Information.

5. Inadequacy of the Environmental Impact Statement

6. Appropriate assessment of the Effect on a NHA/Special Areas of Conservation



1. Material Contravention of County Development Plan.


1.1 The planner's report dated 17/10/2000 states:

"Further to letter of WCC of 22/6/00, It is recommended that permission be refused for the above development for the following reasons.

1. The site is located in an area of high scenic and recreational amenity, as designated in the County Development Plan, where the proposed development would be out of character with and detract from the amenities of the area and would interfere with the listed prospect No. 11 (Prospect of Great Sugar Loaf across Kilmacanogue Marsh and Quill Road) which it is necessary to preserve.

2. The EIS accompanying the appliciation fails to adequately identify and impacts of the proposed development, such as assessment of reserves noise levels, traffic impacts visual impact and other issues as detailed in councils correspondence dated 28.4.99. it does not therefore permit the adequate assessment of the development and in this regard a decision to grant permission cannot be recommended.

Conor McGrath 17/07/00"


The report of the SEE planning states:

"The key impacts here are (in no particular order)

a. traffic

b. Visual impact/landscape impact"


We submit that his evaluation of the traffic effects is flawed


In the light of the more serious visual impact we do not chose to detail these the traffic arguments further as we are confident the Board will refuse planning permission on the grounds of the Material Contravention of County Development Plan (Area of Outstanding Scenic Beauty and Listed Prospects).


The SEE planning continues on page 2

"The visual impact of the unauthorised element of this operations obvious, and to say the least, it is unfortunate that the applicant chose to operate this pit outside planning legislation. We are however presented with a fait acomplis. Given the degradation of the lands to the North of this site the visual impact of the workings will not be as out of place as if the area was pristine in addition the impact is ameliorated by the vegetation and topography. In balance and in an extremely fine balance at that, I am willing to accept these adverse visual impacts………………


I have discussed this with the County Engineer and we are of the opinion that filling this with inert fill and finished with topsoil the original ground profile would be a super solution. Any such filling would presumably require an EPA licence."


We have many points to make on this and will list them:


1.1 We agree with the SEE that the visual impacts of the unauthorised development are obvious.

1.2 He states "it is unfortunate that the applicant chose to operate this pit outside planning legislation". It is our opinion that it is unfortunate that the Planning Authority chose to ignore this unauthorised development, in spite of their full knowledge of it and frequent site visits and letters from our clients and letters from our clients.

1.3 The failure of the Planning Authority to address unauthorised development in this case - and in many others of which the board will be aware - is of such consequence that the Planning Act 2000 includes provisions to address this situation. Although the commencement order for the relevant section has not yet been made, we urge the Board to examine the issue in terms of the new legislation, which has been approved by the Dail, Supreme Court and signed by the President.

1.4 The SEE goes on to state "We are however presented with a fait acomplis" We are not it is the duty of the Planning Authority to take appropriate enforcement action where the planning laws have been so blatantly and continually breeched and where this breech is of a substantial nature against the proper planning and development of the area and the environmental contract which is the legal essence of a development plan. The solution is an Section 27 injunction and an appliciation to the courts for an order to restore the site, not an agreement to accept the further destruction of our national heritage.

But Wicklow County Council have taken the easy but in our opinion not the legal option, to grant planning permission.



1.5 He continues: "Given the degradation of the lands to the North of this site the visual impact of the workings will not be as out of place as if the area was pristine in addition the impact is ameliorated by the vegetation and topography." This is gobblygook the lands to the north are subject to a licence to close and restore from the EPA. This area should be pristine again soon.


We are at a loss to understand what is meant by "ameliorated by the vegetation and topography" If the vegetation and topography could mitigate the impact of this development re the County Development Plan, we can see no reason for having and visual designations in the County Development Plan.


1.6 But he says "In balance and in an extremely fine balance at that, I am willing to accept these adverse visual impacts" He makes this conclusion without including in his balancing act the full facts being in possession of the County Engineer. In this regard, we note that the reportdid not appear to acknowledge the fact that the EPA refused a licence for these lands26/5/00. While this was appealed the final decision to refuse a licence onthese lands was dated 20/10/00 and this appears to be a material fact which was not considered by the Planning Authority in making their decision.


We submit that the SEE planning and the County Engineer did not consider all the relevant information available to them, not considering this a Material Contravention of County Development Plan is totally without foundation. It is the duty of the Planning Authority to uphold the County Development Plan .


2. No statutory site notices erected.


2.1 Our clients inform us that no site notices have ever been erected for this development. They were not aware that the Further Information had been fully submitted after over a year of continuing unauthorised development.


2.2 The copy site notice on the planning file (never erected) states that the appliciation is for "retention of extraction of gravel to my original pit at…" We submit that the Planning Authority could not give permission for continuation of use as it was not applied for.


3. Inadequate Newspaper Advertisements

We submit that the newspaper notices do not comply with the regulations. The public were not made aware that the full Environmental Impact Statement had been submitted.





4. No public consultation on Further Information.


4.1 As the public were not informed that a full Environmental Impact Statement had been submitted there was no consultation.


There is no evidence that the objections from the public to the original appliciation were considered by the Planning Authority. If they had been this unauthorised development would not have been permitted to continue for four years, with the consequent damage to the environment and to the proper planning and development of the area which has resulted in the large numbers of appellants in this appeal. Inadequacy of the Environmental Impact Statement.


4.2 The public's confusion over the development proposal has been greatly increased by the piece meal submission of information which should be compiled n a single document and re-advertised

4.3 The planners reports show that the information sought was not fully submitted.

4.4 Before commenting on the Environmental Impact Statement we will have to examine what is submitted to the Board as an Environmental Impact Statement.


5. Appropriate assessment of the Effect on a NHA/Special Areas of Conservation


5.1 Kilmacanogue Marsh is listed as a Special Areas of Conservation site 00724 and the little sugar Loaf is also listed. This development actually touches the Little Sugar Loaf Site and there is no evidence Duchas being contacted re this file. The developer dismisses the impact on this site. The effects of lowering the water table and drainage which must be a significant effect as the result of the extraction were not even considered.


CONCLUSION.

This appliciation for retention is a Material Contravention of County Development Plan and therefore must be refused as there are no mitigating circumstances shown as to why the Board should overrule the County Development Plan.


This appliciation for retention could not be considered proper planning and development of the area.




We ask the Board to award our clients costs in this matter against the Planning Authority as they have acted ultra vires in granting this appliciation.


Yours faithfully


The following quotes from the EPA Inspectors reports may be of assistance



Ground B2 (Development is a material contravention of the Wicklow County development Plan)

The objection points out that location of the facility in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is a material contravention of the County Development Plan and that the EPA has no authorisation to authorise such a contravention. Marrakesh Ltd in their submission argue that the site is exempt from planning and the restoration of the worked out quarry will enhance the area.


Technical Committee's evaluation

The PD is for the purposes of waste licensing under the WMA only and the issue raised is a planning issue which is outside the remit of the licence application. Condition 1.4 states that nothing in the licence shall be construed as negating the licensee's statutory obligations or requirements under any other enactment's or regulations


Ground B6 (Phase III development)

This objection considers that the development of Phase III is not in the same planning unit and also refers to the planning application in relation to the extraction of sand and gravel. Marrakesh Ltd in their submission notes that the sand and gravel quarry is not part of the landfill site.


Technical Committee's evaluation

Phase III has been refused in the PD. Planning permission is a matter for Wicklow County Council.



Marrakesh Ltd. in their submission state that "there is no mention in the draft licence or in any other correspondence from the Agency that Phase III has been refused".


The technical committee considers that Marrakesh Ltd must have misinterpreted the PD judging by their statement saying that there is no evidence that Phase III is refused. The technical committee considers that Condition 5.11 makes it clear that Phase III is refused. The technical committee's recommendation under Ground B1 reiterates that fact that phase III is refused.


Technical Committee's evaluation: The technical committee note that the visual integration of the restored site into the surrounding landscape was taken into consideration during the assessment of the application and Condition 8.1.(b) specifies a maximum restoration level of 164m OD, i.e. 10m lower than that applied for. The Restoration Plan details seeding and planting of Gorse to blend the landfill site into its surroundings. The licence provides for the restoration of Phases I and II. Phase III is refused.




Ground B10 (Condition 4.7 Planning Permission for Facility Office)

The objector states that planning permission is needed to convert the existing residence to an office.


Technical Committee's evaluation

The relevant planning authority is Wicklow County Council.
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