Plans for two major motorway service stations in Mitchelstown and Fermoy shot down
An Bord Pleanala has put paid to plans for two major motorway service station developments at adjoining junctions of the M8 at Mitchelstown and Fermoy. Both developers learned this week that they have been refused permission.
Cork County Council had granted planning permission for both but objectors, including existing competing businesses in both cases, appealed to the planning appeals board. They will welcome this week's decision as they'd argued that the developments would threaten the sustainability of their businesses.
The decision will come as a blow though to those who'd welcomed the job creation potential of the multi-million euro developments for their respective areas. It's also a major blow for both developers, having spent considerable sums on drawing up plans, site investigation works and pre-planning.
The decision in respect of the proposed development by Oronco Ltd., for Junction 14 of the M8 at Moorepark West, Fermoy, was expected this week but the Applegreen one for Junction 13 at Brigown, Mitchelstown wasn't due to be handed down until the end of this month. The reason they were both announced this week lies in the reasons for refusal. Both were given the exact same reasons.
They were refused on the grounds that only a development of 'a strategic and exceptional nature' would be allowed in what are both greenbelt areas, in line with the County Development Plan and the Fermoy Electoral Area Local Area Plan. They were also deemed not to be in line with the Spatial Planning and National Roads Guidelines which advocate a coordinated approach to the provision of off-line motorway service areas and are against the proliferation of private off-line service area facilties at national road junctions.
While they accepted the acknowledged requirement for such a facility in the area, it was considered that, pending the formulation of an appropriate planning policy approach, it'd be premature and contrary to development plan policies and therefore also contrary to proper planning and sustainable development in the area.
A further reason for refusal was given in Applegreen's case, that the proposed development was located within the source protection zone of the Mitchelstown South Water Supply Scheme. The Board wasn't satisfied that the location was suitable or appropriate for the development or that it wouldn't give rise to an increased risk of contamination of the water supply source. Furthermore, they ruled, the site would seriously injure the visual amenity as it'd be highly visible as a result of the topography of the site and the extensive earthworks and infilling it would need.
Thursday 6th February 5:20pm