herald

Saturday 21 October 2017

Japanese Knotweed and bats stall funeral home plans in Rathfarnham

The Tuning Fork pub
The Tuning Fork pub

Bats and Japanese Knotweed plants have stalled plans to build a new funeral parlour in Rathfarnham.

Last year, Fanagans Funeral Directors lodged plans for a new funeral home on the site of the Tuning Fork pub on Ballyboden Road, Rathfarmham.

However, the plan attracted significant local opposition, with residents concerned about the impact funerals could have on traffic in the area and other issues.

In its decision, South Dublin County Council refused planning permission on six grounds, with two relating to impacts on Japanese Knotweed and bats.

In its decision, the Council stated that the demolition of buildings on the site may lead to the inadvertent further spreading of the non-native Japanese Knotweed.

The Council said it was not satisfied this had been addressed in the proposed development in terms of how Japanese Knotweed could be eradicated from the site and its surrounds.

Accordingly, the development was contrary to the proper planning and development of the area.

In relation to bats, the Council state that there was a high potential that bats could be roosting on the site or using it as a feeding ground.

Contrary

The council stated: "In the absence of the applicant addressing this issue, the proposal would be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area."

The council also refused planning permission, stating that the proposed development would endanger public safety by reason of traffic hazard.

It also said the proposed use of the funeral home would be out of character with the residential area. It also refused planning due to potential flooding issues.

Fanagans claims to be Ireland's largest and oldest funeral director firm and will celebrate its 200th anniversary in 2019.

The firm has appealed the Council's decision to An Bord Pleanala.

It stated that in response to concerns about Japanese Knotweed it hired ecologists who found no evidence of Japanese Knotweed within the proposed development site.

The same ecologists also found no bats at the site. The appeal states that the proposal "is a well thought out and considered proposal for the site".

Speculation

The appeal states that the plan has been subjected to a wide range of speculation by neighbours.

It argued that unfortunately the Council had engaged in this speculative approach in relation to the issue of Japanese Knotweed and bats.

The appeal adds that the proposal is a suitable replacement for a public house "and will make a significant architectural contribution to the improvement of the visual amenities of the area".

A decision by the board is due in June.

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