THE proposed demolition of Ennis National School would be the first step in an overall plan to transform the site into a suitable location for a major retail and commercial development in the heart of the town.
That’s according to plans lodged with Clare County Council by Ennis based construction and engineering firm, Woodhaven Developments Ltd.
The company are seeking planning permission  to demolish the existing disused Ennis National School building, the sports hall and dressing rooms, including ancillary works.
The applicants are proposing to clear the site and create a new site that would allow for ‘strategic development in the future.’ The proposal has the consent of St Flannan’s (Killaloe) Diocesan Trust, the owners of the 4.25 hectare site. In their application, Woodhaven Developments cite recent episodes of vandalism that have occurred at the former primary school.
A report states; “The current buildings are in a dilapidated state as a result of vacating of the site and the subsequent vandalism that occurred thereafter. It is proposed to clear the site upon demolition and create a site that would allow for strategic development in the future.”
Detailing the current status of the buildings, the applicants state that two separate fires have taken place at the site; more than 150 windows have been broken; maple flooring has been removed; lead on the roof has been removed; ceilings have been pulled down and insulation removed; sanitary ware has been pulled from the walls. The report states the water-mains have been disconnected due to severe leakages under the floors of the exiting building while there are also holes in the roof.
“The health and safety issues that were previously applicable to the relocation of Ennis National School remains current,” the report adds.
The site has been vacant since the relocation of Ennis National School to a new site in Ashline in June 2013.
The site is currently zoned PS1 in the Ennis and Environs Development Plan (2008-2014) as amended.
The report states; “The zoned PS1 includes 15 different ownerships which includes but is not limited to the Carmody Street business park, Liam Cleary’s garage, Eircom, Kenny’s Public House and Veterinary Clinic and a further three units along the Kilrush Road.”
On the future of the site, Woodhaven Developments says it will develop the school section of PS1 site in such a way that it will offer and attraction to the town.
It continues; “It is the Company’s intention to have a proactive plan-led approach to the delivery of retail, commercial, offices, recreation public open space  and car parking development” which accords with Ennis development plans and retail planning guidelines.
“The site is located in an area that fosters a strong sense of local identity and community engagement. It is bolted onto the existing shopping fabric. The site is ideally located on a brownfield site.”  The applicants state that much of the land immediately adjoining the town centre is ‘constrained due to the historic street-work and is not suitable for major retailing.’
A traffic impact assessment states; “As part of any future development proposal this will be accompanied by a traffic and transport assessment and accessibility audit. All works associated with the current proposal will be via the existing entrance with all vehicles entering and exiting through the existing car park at the Kilrush Road entrance.”
On the demolition procedure, the report states; “The demolition works shall be undertaken in a manner which maximises the potential for recycling, including source segregation of waste where appropriate.”
A decision on the application is due on October 18, 2015.

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