The proposed development of 10 apartments which Focus Ireland had been earmarked to acquire on a site at Avondale, Kilcohan has been refused by An Bord Pleanála.

The site, situated on the corner of the Old Tramore Road and Shannon Drive, is currently occupied by a single story cottage and a number of smaller structures.

The decision to refuse planning permission to Shanmount Properties (care of Fewer Harrington Lawlor and Partners) following an appeal was made at a Board meeting on February 11th.

Shanmount had proposed the construction of a two storey building occupying 692 square metres, comprising of 10 one-bed units, 11 car parking spaces and two visitor spaces.

“While I acknowledge that the proposal was designed to meet the specific needs of an organisation, the proposal must comprise one which can be appropriately absorbed into the area,” reads the report signed by inspector U Crosse.

“And in this regard I do not consider that providing one particular type of unit, notwithstanding specifications is satisfactory in the context of creating a development which can be appropriately absorbed both visually and functionally, particularly into a mature and established neighbourhood.”

The inspector’s report adds: “The proposal has been stated as being designed for the specification of Focus Ireland who wish to acquire the units. Third parties state that the area is sufficiently catered for in relation to housing units.

“The size, mix and quality of the apartments are required to meet the same standards in qualitative and quantitative terms notwithstanding their ultimate tenure.”

Three reasons were offered by the inspector for refusing permission:

* The proposal contravened the Waterford City Development Plan and was “seriously deficient in terms of quality open space”.

* It “would detract from the overall character of the area due to the absence of an appropriate mix of unit sizes” and “would be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area”.

* The pitched roof structure as outlined by the applicants “would detract from the overall amenity and character of the area”.

In its appeal, Shanmount said that the original refusal of planning permission was unjustifiable, a claim refuted by An Bord Pleanála.

The appellants also stated that it “understood there was a need for one bed units in the area” and also forwarded a letter from Focus Ireland to the Board for their consideration.

In reply, An Bord Pleanála said that the Focus Ireland letter was “irrelevant as funding from (City) Council is required and Council have refused permission”. Waterford City Council originally refused planning permission for the proposal on July 4th 2007.

In rejecting the appeal, the Board again cited the contravention of the City Development Plan, stating that the proposal was “out of character with the pattern of development in the area”.