An Bord Pleanala has published its reasons for turning down an appeal by Procter & Gamble against a decision by North Tipperary County Council to refuse planning permission for a wind turbine at Coolaholloga.
The company had sought permission for the 85-metre high turbine in May 2013 saying it could cut its energy bills by up to $1m per year and make it more competitive.
However, the appeal was rejected following objections from An Taisce, Nenagh Wind Turbine Opposition Group and Brenda and Tommy Ryan of Richmond Cottages. A total of 127 objections had originally been lodged with the local planning authority.
The Bord Pleanala decision was postponed on a number of occasions, but its findings were released last week. The reports was signed off by senior planning inspector Keith Sargeant on June 9, 2014.
An Taisce had submitted that the proposed development conflicted with development plan policy, would be a visual imposition on residential amenity and would have a negative impact on the visual amenity associated with the approaches to Nenagh, and the character of the town.
The Ryans had urged An Bord Pleanála to uphold the decision of the planning authority, outlining concerns under Development Plan Policy, Noise, Shadow Flicker and Landscape Character.
The Nenagh Wind Turbine Opposition Group submission was made on their behalf by HRA Planning Consultants and requested Bord Pleanala to uphold the decision of the planning authority.
The proposed site was visited by the Bord Pleanala inspector twice in 2014 and his decision to recommend that it be rejected was based on the location of the proposed development on the periphery of Nenagh, its nearness to existing and proposed residential areas within the strategic development envelope of the town, and the scale of the development and the land-use provisions of the development plan for the area.
The inspector’s report considered that the proposed turbine, including rotor blades, would be a visually obtrusive and overbearing feature as viewed from residential properties and areas in the vicinity and would, therefore, seriously injure the amenities of and depreciate the value of property in the vicinity.
Moreover, due to the height of the proposed turbine structure including rotor blades, on the northern periphery of the town, the proposed development would interfere with the landscape setting of Nenagh Castle, this setting being a historic urban landscape.
The second grounds for refusal was based on the nearness of the proposed turbine to existing and permitted residential property.
The report also said that regarding the provisions of the officially published Wind Energy Guidelines 2006 and officially published proposed Revisions to Wind Energy Guidelines published by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government in 2013, the board was not satisfied, on the basis of the information contained in submissions and correspondence on file, that the proposed development would not give rise to serious injury to the amenities of residential property in the vicinity, by reason of noise.
The proposed development would seriously injure the amenities of property in the vicinity and would be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area, it stated.
Reacting to the refusal, a spokesperson for Procter and Gamble said: “Whilst disappointed with the outcome, we respect the decision of An Bord Pleanala. We will consider the reasons behind the decision and consult with relevant experts as we assess our options moving forward.”