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18 Jan 2022

Council bid to acquire derelict site in Limerick village comes off the rails

Council bid to acquire derelict site in Limerick village comes off the rails

Limerick City and County Council announced its intention to acquire this building in Knocklong last April

AN Bord Pleanála has rejected plans by Limerick City and County Council to compulsorily acquire a property and surrounding lands in Knocklong.

The owner of the property – at Bridge Street in the village – had objected to the proposed acquisition under the provisions of the Derelict Sites Act, 1990.

The local authority indicated its intention to acquire the two-storey building and lands last April and the application was subsequently submitted to An Bord Pleánala.

In his report to the Board, planning inspector Hugh D Morrison said a “strenuous objection” was raised by the owner of the site who plans to develop it.

He said the current owner purchased the site in March 2018 and was granted planning permission by the council, in March 2019, to develop three residential units 

Permission for additional works was granted in January 2021 but works could not proceed at that time due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

The planning inspector noted rubbish and debris had been removed from the site when he visited last August. Since the construction sector re-opened, last May, works have been undertaken to address some of the council’s concerns.

“If LCCC compulsorily acquires the site, then it is unclear what it would do with it. By contrast, if its intention to compulsorily acquire is lifted, then the applicant would proceed to deliver three dwelling units without delay. The common good would be served thereby,” he wrote.

In its application, the local authority said the site was first identified as being derelict in May 2019 and that no remedial works were carried out by the owner prior to it confirming its intention to acquire the property.

The council added that it has received representations regarding the property from local councillors, businesses, community groups and residents.

In his recommendation to the board, Mr Morrison said he was satisfied the building is derelict given its “neglected, unsightly and objectionable condition” but that the adjoining lands are not.

Given the owner’s engagement, he said he should be given the opportunity to develop the site in accordance with the planning permissions.

 The board formally accepted the recommendation just before Christmas.

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