PLANS to build a scheme of houses in a scenic area of Tower near Blarney have been turned down by Cork City Council.
Developer OMD (C) Ltd lodged plans on January 23 this year for planning permission to build five houses on lands associated with the former St Ann's Hydropathic Establishment, St Ann's Hill, Kilnamucky, Tower, Blarney, Cork.
The development would have consisted of the construction of four four-bedroom detached houses and one five-bedroom detached house.
The proposed development was a change of plan from one originally permitted by Cork County Council and is located within the curtilage of lands associated with the former St. Ann's Hydropathic Establishment, St. Ann's Hydro, a protected structure.
The development would have resulted in the construction of an additional house. Access to the proposed development was to be provided via the permitted access off the R617 road and an internal road network.
One of the observations made was on behalf of Sir Charles Colthurst, Blarney Castle Estate. These concerns were that the development would represent a significant increase in scale from the scheme previously permitted.
The increased scale of the buildings “is not in accordance with the standards for the management of places of cultural significance” and the new design would “dominate the landscape, creating the impression of entering a housing estate, rather than a sensitive heritage place.”
Other concerns centred on how the change of plan would “have an irreparable impact on the St Ann’s Hydropathic Establishment complex, a site of both national and international significance and a national monument.”
The proposed development would “set a precedent for large-scale buildings on an elevated site within a historic landscape.
One local resident wrote that it is “frustrating and very disappointing that permission was given to develop St Anne’s Hill in the first instance. It is commonly agreed locally that this particular location in Tower is one of unique beauty.
“The building of houses in the field adjacent to our house ensures without question that enormous damage will be done to the landscape at St Anne’s Hill. Originally, planning permission was given for four houses on the south-west portion of the field. These houses were supposed to be single storey. Now permission is being sought for five.
“We are fearful that the beauty of this area will be completely destroyed and frankly it’s a shame,” added the resident.
“The bigger and higher the houses are, then the bigger the impact.” Another local resident wrote that they are “very concerned with the changes proposed.”
Concerns centred on the size, elevation, and “brand new redesign of house style” and that it would overlook a property. Repeated flooding from a small stream that forms part of the boundary had damaged this person’s property. The increased risk of run off during excavation and storms, are “a serious worry of flood damage to us.”
Also, “we are unsure and concerned about the security and maintenance of the boundary fences.” The new proposals were “trying to re-add more units contrary to conditional planning” and “even the elevation has changed.”
Cork City Council refused planning permission on March 20.