Ministry wants bat survey to be conducted at west site
The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage is calling for a bat survey to be carried out before a final decision can be made on one of the most significant projects proposed for Connaught Street in Athlone since many years.
The request is contained in one of three submissions filed for Ledbro Ltd’s eye-catching proposal for a five-story residential building with a retail unit arranged over two blocks at 20 Connaught Street, Harry’s Lane and 7 Patrick Street.
Housed in August, the plan provides for 29 apartments, a commercial unit, semi-basement parking, amenity space and a common open space on the 0.12 hectare site. This would involve the demolition of an abandoned two-story pub and hangar.
Noting that the development site contains an abandoned building, the department says that due to the lack of activity at this site, it is possible that it houses a “roost for bats” which are protected under the European Habitats Directive. Due to the likelihood of bats roosting there, he calls for an investigation of the bats to be conducted by a suitably qualified bat ecologist before a final verdict is rendered.
In addition, given that the development is on a large scale and is located in the listed monument of the historic town of Athlone, the department’s submission also considers that “the scale, extent and location of the proposed development” could have an impact on âunderground archaeological remainsâ.
It recommends that an archaeological impact assessment be prepared to âassess any impact on the archaeological remains in the proposed development siteâ.
The developer argues that the plan forms the basis for a new “urban renewal plan” which it says will remove abandoned industrial buildings and replace them with “professionally managed housing” built to the highest standards.
The main building is four stories with a penthouse overlooking Connaught Street and Harry’s Lane. It will be fitted out with six apartments per floor on levels 1-3, three units on the ground floor and five on level four. On level four, the building recedes north and west to create a penthouse level, which according to planning documents will allow generous balconies.
A separate three-storey apartment building located on Patrick Street has one unit per floor, each with their own access door.
Another submission recorded on the Westmeath County Council website is from Sarah Finnerty, Company Secretary, appointed representative of Gerry Finnerty Building Contractor Ltd. the âoverall area of ââthe site that is the subject of the application is shown as extending over land long term owned by Gerry Finnerty Building Contractor Ltd.â.
The nearby Athlone veterinary clinic is also concerned about the project, saying in a submission that the building, due to its “scale, mass and building footprint” will have a “significant negative impact” on the building. operation of the clinic and surrounding buildings.
He believes that the applicant has taken “little or no action” to ensure that the proposed new premises will integrate with the existing veterinary clinic, surrounding buildings and access points on Patrick Street.
The submission, signed by Gerry Mannion, also expresses concerns about the proximity to the clinic’s back wall and the impact on the existing parking lot next to the clinic where an emergency drop-off area for injured animals is on duty at side of the main facade. Entrance.
He goes on to say that this is a long-standing deal with Westmeath County Council, but that the demand has removed the parking areas to facilitate visibility to the new parking lot, concluding that the removal of l ’emergency parking area will have an’ adverse effect ‘. on the operation of the clinic and its clients.
The deadline for submitting applications for the project was September 12, with Westmeath County Council expected to vote on the project by October 3.