Limerick driving range plan shot down

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Almost 50 potential jobs on the outskirts of Limerick city have been lost after An Bord Pleanala refused permission for a new driving range and training academy.

Almost 50 potential jobs on the outskirts of Limerick city have been lost after An Bord Pleanala refused permission for a new driving range and training academy.

Plans by professional golfer Donal McSweeney to build the facility in Annacotty have been quashed by the national planning authority.

Mr McSweeney - the former golf professional at Limerick County Golf Club in Ballyneety - had planned to develop the training academy, as well as a driving range, training rooms, shop, office, tea station and stores on a patch of land near the Annacotty Business Park.

Had the development been green-lit by An Bord Pleanala, Mr McSweeney said more than 30 construction workers would have been appointed as part of an €800,000 building project.

And a further ten staff would have been appointed on a permanent basis once the site was up and running.

He hasn’t ruled out returning with a revised proposal.

“It’s a real pity. It is an incredible loss really. The feedback we got from the general public was Limerick required this [...] so that’s disappointing in itself,” he said.

Mr McSweeney will have a meeting later this week before deciding whether to return with a fresh application.

The original plan ran into trouble when fellow golf professional Barbara Hackett, who runs a similar facility in Coonagh, objected to the development. She argued if Mr McSweeney secured permission, her business would suffer and jobs would be lost.

Limerick County Council refused permission. However, An Bord Pleanala rejected Mr McSweeney’s appeal, ruling the plan is “incompatible” with the character of the Annacotty Business Park. The board also said that because the site lies far away from residential development, there was a risk of traffic hazard.