CLARE County Council has “serious concerns” over the proposed development of a new primary school on the outskirts of Ennis amid worries over traffic chaos in the area.
The Commissioner of Public Works is seeking planning permission from the council for the demolition and r development of Knockanean National School.
The proposed development would consist of the demolition of existing boundary walls, demolition of existing single storey school six classroom school building of approximately 685sqm, demolition of existing open shed of approximately 25sqm and demolition of prefabricated classroom building of approximately 207sqm.
The proposed development would lead to significant traffic congestion in this area, would lead to unsustainable travel patterns over a wide area and would result in over development of the site and would have significant negative impact on the visual and residential amenities of the area.
The new development would consist of a new two storey Primary School building with a gross floor area of approximately 2535sqm; accommodation consisting of 16 Classrooms, a General Purpose Room, a Library/Resource Room, and ancillary accommodation. In addition, site works include the replacement of the existing gated entrance with a new gated vehicular and a separate pedestrian entrance off the Knockanean Road boundary, serving 24 on site car parking spaces and associated set down areas, pedestrian pathways, together with two ball courts. The work would take place on an overall site area of 1.34 hectares. Clare County Council has sought further information from the applicant.
But it has now emerged the local authority has “serious concerns” regarding the development that include the potential for increased traffic congestion.
In a report to councillors at the October meeting of the Ennis Municpal District Committee (MDC), Senior Executive Engineer, Eamon O’Dea states, “The planning authority has serious concerns regarding the scale of the proposed development as proposed in this instance. The subject site is located within a rural area, which is not served by public sewer, footpaths, cycle lanes and other essential services that would be required to cater for the scale of the development as proposed. In addition the road network in the area is not designed to cater for the anticipated school numbers, is narrow in parts with poor alignment and there is insufficient parking for collection and drop-offs in the vicinity of the site.”
He continued, “The proposed development would lead to significant traffic congestion in this area, would lead to unsustainable travel patterns over a wide area and would result in over development of the site and would have significant negative impact on the visual and residential amenities of the area.”
Mr O’Dea stated that as a planning application is presently under consideration in relation to the school, improvements to the road would be premature pending the outcome of same.”
Mr O’Dea was replying to a motion tabled by Cllr Pat Daly (FF). Cllr Daly requested the council to “widen a very narrow road, the Ennis side of Knockanean National School, particularly as there is now 300 pupils in the school and traffic can be chaos at peak intervals.”
Speaking at the meeting, Cllr Daly, said traffic issues in the area had been ongoing for many years. “Its too narrow. There are cars up and down there all the time, dropping off kids for school and so forth.”