ROWING CENTRE PLANS OPPOSED
PLANS FOR FACILITY AT BURGAGE MOYLE APPEALED TO AN BORD PLEANALA
AN APPEAL has been lodged with An Bórd Pleanála regarding a high-performance rowing centre near Blessington, over concerns that the facility could disturb local wildlife.
In September, Wicklow County Council granted Rowing Ireland conditional planning permission for the centre to include a boathouse with 11 bays, an attached building, housing launch boat area, eight bays for safety boats and an equipment store at Burgage Moyle.
But those plans are now on hold after Raymond O’Sullivan from Naas objected on the basis of ‘habitat destruction and wildlife disturbance’.
PLANS for a high performance rowing centre near Blessington have been appealed to An Bord Pleanala over concerns about the effect it could have on local wildlife.
In September, Wicklow County Council granted Rowing Ireland conditional planning permission for a single storey boathouse with eleven bays for rowing boats, a two storey attached ancillary building, housing launch boat area, eight bays for safety boats and an equipment store at Burgage Moyle, Blessington.
Permission was also sought for a boiler room and water storage on ground floor, with changing areas, gym, meeting rooms, and a balcony/terrace at first floor level and 78 car parking spaces.
However, Raymond O’Sullivan, O’Woodend, Newtown, Eadestown, Naas, has objected to An Bord Pleanála over Wicklow County Council’s decision to grant planning permission.
The primary reasons for Mr O’Sullivan’s objection are ‘habitat destruction and wildlife disturbance’ on the
Poulaphouca Reservoir, which is designated a Special Protection Area (SPA) under the Conservation of Wild Birds Directive and is located adjacent to the proposed rowing centre site.
Mr O’Sullivan also expressed surprise that the Blessington Greenway received permission.
In his objection he states: ‘The primary purpose of the SPA designation was the protection of the roosting sites for two species of bird the Grey Lag Goose and the Lesser Blacked Gull. The reservoir is a critically important roosting site for both species of bird. It is astonishing, to me at least, that those who approved the above development and another recently approved development around the forty three kilometre perimeter of the reservoir,’ said Mr O’Sullivan.
‘It should be noted that the grant of permission for the proposed development of the Blessington Greenway was appealed to the European Commission in Brussels and was registered as a complaint and is being adjudicated upon at present,’ he wrote.
In his objection, Mr O’Sullivan recognised rowing as a ‘worthwhile activity’ but feels the rowing centre will be located in an inappropriate site. He further stated that plenty of other water activities already take place in the area.
‘At present there are numerous other activities on this water body which contribute to the disturbance of wildlife. There is an existing rowing club at Blessington Bridge, administered by Rowing Ireland, which is an association of five Dublin rowing clubs. There is an outdoor adventure activity centre at Avon Ri which engages in sail boarding and kayaking. There is a boat hire company close to Lacken. There is the sailing club near Baltiboys which has over one hundred members. There is a fishing club near Russborough and there is a canoeing club,’ said Mr O’Sullivan in his appeal.
‘The inshore life boat service also conduct training on the reservoir. The EIA report suggests that rowing activity on the lake is currently in the region of sixty single boats, ten four man boats, ten eight man boats plus safety launches. By any stretch of the imagination you could not claim that the resource is being underutilised in regards to rowing. There is no suggestion anywhere that the existing rowing club should be replaced or subsumed into the current proposal’.