Article in todays Clare People
Bridging the gap in Ennis town
Written by Gordon Deegan
ENNIS is to get a new bridge across the River Fergus as part of a major development by a Galway company which has just got the go-ahead from Ennis Town Council.
Briarlane Development secured planning permission for a major extension to the Abbey Hostel near the existing Club Bridge. The company is proposing the construction of a footbridge across the River Fergus to link the development to the Abbey Street car-park.
As part of a four-floor structure, the developers plan a 120-bunk bed extension to the existing hostel building. The development is to also include a restaurant, an internet cafÃ© and a wine bar with all ancillary services.
The extended hostel is expected to fill a gap in the local tourist market where, currently, there are no hostel spaces for independent tourists.
The Briarlane project faced no local opposition and the company was able to satisfy concerns that the Department of the Environment expressed over otters in the River Fergus.
The granting of planning permission five years after the company first sought to develop the strategic site adjacent to the River Fergus follows a decision by An Bord PleanÃ¡la last year to refuse planning for a project that promised to transform the Ennis skyline as part of a â‚¬25 million riverside development.
Early last year, Ennis Town Council gave the go-ahead for the ambitious project in spite of warnings from Clareâ€™s Conservation Officer that the plan had the potential to do â€œirreparable damage to a very attractive and uniquely ancient county townâ€.
The council chose to ignore Conservation Officer Risteard UaCroninâ€™s warning that â€œthe design of the proposed development is neither contemporary nor innovative and reflects large city suburban developments of the 1970s and 1980s, many of which are presently being demolishedâ€.
But his stance was endorsed last September by the appeals board which ruled that the proposal would seriously injure the visual amenities of the area and the character of the architectural heritage area.
The development involved a six-storey building opposite the Abbey Street car-park arranged around a central podium and included a plan to develop a 30-bedroom hotel, 58 apartments and a pedestrian bridge across the River Fergus.
The board also ruled that one of the apartment blocks would provide poor quality accommodation and seriously injure the residential amenities of future occupants and of property in the vicinity.
Copyright The Clare People, Wed 7 May 2008
Seems like a decent development. The bridge will open up that side of the river to future development. Hopefully of better quality than