Neighbours of a car dismantling yard in The Heath have appealed an unauthorised extension of the business to An Bord Pleanala.
In January, Laois County Council granted permission for Whelan’s Auto Dismantlers, Ballydavis, Portlaoise applied to Laois County Council, last year to retain two office buildings, a weighbridge and extended site areas to the north and west of the site. They were also permitted a change of use of the lands to the west to car dismantling use with mounded boundary.
Whelan’s also applied for planning permission to change the use of the extended site to car dismantling and erect security fencing.
The council had sent a warning letter on September 14, 2012 for unauthorised development and unauthorised structures.
On December 19, the owners of the property adjoining the Whelan’s site submitted an objection to the permission for retention.
The appelant’s - Derek and Geraldine Lewis - said they became aware of the problem, during construction along a shared boundary. In their submission, they said they spoke to the applicant and allowed him time to come back to them and demonstrate “how the unauthorised works would mitigate our concerns”.
The Lewis’ said this did not happen and they had no option but to make a formal obersvation on the retention.
In their submission to the council, the Lewis’ said that the mound is directly at their shared boundary and they claim is it “visually imposing” and the plans had not presented any proposal for on-going management, including how it would be maintained in a stable structure to avoid slippage.
The Lewis’ also claimed that there was a risk of soil contaimination and also a fire risk and made reference to the a fire in a car dismantlers yard in Stradbally in April 2006.
They said that the conduct on the applicant raised concerns, in their opinion “for the future management of the facility and the on-going potential risks and problems which can overtime can reduce the current neighbourly situation.”
In their report for the Bord, LCC said that the development “will not prejudice the residential amenities of the area” and recommended that the planning permission be upheld.
On January 29, the Lewis’s lodged their objection with An Bord Pleanala saying that the manner in which the development had progressed was of grave concern to them.
“It is also of great concern to us that should this process of “seeking forgiveness later” demonstrate a successful outcome for the applicant in this instnace, then the hope of any future consultation in relation to the on-going operation of this facility or any further intensification at this location will frusttrate the planning process, potentially adversely affect our residential amenity further and establish a precedent that cannot be enforced or regulated. This would provide a recipe for local discord and relations between neighbours,” they wrote.
The case is due to be decided by June of this year.