Gerry Gannon’s wife challenges a bigger mast near the Leitrim property
Margaret Gannon, the wife of well-known developer Gerry Gannon, is seeking to challenge in the High Court the granting of planning permission for a taller telecommunications mast near a property she owns in Co Leitrim.
Hatley Manor, St George’s Terrace, Carrick-on-Shannon, was one of several properties owned by Mr Gannon which were legally transferred to his wife Margaret in 2009 at the time of the economic crisis.
She is seeking judicial review proceedings against An Bord Pleanála over permission granted to Vodafone to extend the height of an existing mast at St George’s Terrace. The application has been adjourned until later this week.
Ms Gannon, of Dublin Road, Sutton, Dublin, says she is concerned about the flagpole in relation to the “architectural integrity of the town” which includes her Hatley Manor property.
It is a two-storey detached house with basement built by the St George family around 1830 and is one of a group of architecturally significant structures in the town.
Those buildings, along with the Costello Chapel and the McCann Memorial Clock, are all protected structures, she said.
Ms Gannon says it appears the original mast was built without planning permission on the basis that it was an exempt development.
She says what is now on offer is extremely unclear, but it looks like the height of the mast is going to be increased very significantly. It also looks like additional antennas will be located on the top of the mast, she says.
She says important and critical information that should have been filed with the planning application was not provided.
She does not know if the existing structure will be dismantled and replaced. There is “total confusion” about how development should be done, she says.
Leitrim County Council and An Bord Pleanála have both granted planning permission. The board and Vodafone are notified in its proceedings.
Ms Gannon says that insofar as the council inspector’s report refers to the Habitats Directive, there is no proper screening for proper assessment under that directive.
The site is located very close to the edge of the River Shannon and it is difficult to understand ‘how it could not even be identified the range of Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) which had the potential to be affected by the hydrological connection “between these and the site of the mast,” she said.
The council inspector decided there would be no emissions from the development, but Ms Gannon says that was ‘completely wrong’. General site development works will all have a very significant potential for serious pollution of the river and SACs downstream, it says.
Video: Graham Dwyer wins the challenge at the European…
She says the area where Hatley Manor sits, along St George’s Terrace, is “extraordinarily significant in architectural terms”.
To his “great shock and surprise”, there appears to have been no consideration for the immediately affected structures of the chapel and the clock. In terms of planning, this is a very significant issue due to the negative visual impact of antenna support structures next to these architecturally significant buildings, she says.
She also says that the council inspector completely misinterpreted the ministry’s guidelines regarding the location of the pylons, namely that they should only be located in a residential area as a last resort.
The council also decided not to impose any time limit on the mast, did not consider the health, radiation or other impact implications of what will be an entirely different structure to what currently exists , she says.