The council has approved the construction of a 36 metre telecommunications tower in Borris in Ossory, despite an objection from two local residents who fear a negative visual impact on their property.
Cignal Infrastructure Ltd, based at Raheen Business Park, Limerick, applied to Laois County Council for permission to construct a telecommunications infrastructure comprising of a 36 metre multi-operator lattice tower with antenna and dishes attached, associated equipment and cabinets, and fencing, at Garranmaconly, Borris in Ossory.
The development will use the existing access and access track and permission was also sought to extend this track.
However, a submission against the plans was made by Gearóid Hooban and Erin Wall, Derrygooney, Knock, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary.
They said that the planning application was not in accordance with the Laois County Development Plan 2017-2023.
“The proposal for a 36m-high metal lattice tower in the heart of the country will have a severe negative impact as viewed from our property,” they said, explaining that their home is approximately 260m north of the proposed mast location. They also feared the impact on the surrounding areas.
They said that photomontage visual impact drawings supplied by the applicant do not take into account the visual impact after the harvest of trees within the commercial plantation.
Currently, 27 years after planting, the majority of broadleaf trees in the area are 7-10m tall, so they said that the screening of the tower is therefore impossible and have concerns about the lattice structure towering 20-26m above the broadleaf trees.
They said that a more appropriate design given the sensitive rural surroundings would be a monopole metal structure disguised as a tree. The county development plan recommends monopoles instead of lattice types, and an environmentally acceptable design integrating it into the surrounding landscape.
In response to a request from the council for further information, Cignal Infrastructure Ltd said the potential visual impact is considered acceptable as the site is not subject to any specific landscape character designation.
“The landscape has the capacity to absorb the subject development,” the applicant said.
Considering the forested location the applicant said it was not proposed to amend the design of the structure to a cellular tree.
The applicant said there was a technical justification for the development due to the absence of telecommunications infrastructure and coverage services in the area.
Following this response, Mr Hooban and Ms Wall made a second submission to the council restating their objections.
Despite the couple's objections, the council has now granted planning permission to Cignal Infrastructure Ltd, subject to seven conditions.
The company was also granted permission for a similar development at Oldglass, Ballacolla, namely a 36 metre multi-operator lattice tower with antenna and dishes, associated equipment and cabinets, fencing, and the use and extension of the existing access track.
No submissions were made to the council against this development.