Property developer Bernard Duffy has been refused permission to build 342 homes in Galway on former golf course lands owned by the Comer Group.
An Bord Pleanála ruled that Alber Homes' proposed Rosshill Manor development had design and layout flaws and could have posed a risk to wildlife in nearby Galway Bay.
Rosshill Manor would have constituted 185 houses ranging from two to four bedrooms, alongside 157 apartments in five four-storey blocks and one three-storey block. Alber had sought fast-track approval for its plans for the 10-hectare (25 acre) site via the Government’s strategic housing rules.
But the plans attracted more than 40 objections, including from owners of some of the half-dozen nearby farms. One objector said dairy cattle were driven across the road beside the proposed development twice daily. Others, including heritage group An Taisce, said the rural area had too little public transport to cope with more than 1,000 new residents.
In its ruling, the planning board refused permission citing environmental, sewage, design and appearance issues.
The ruling, signed by architect and board member Michelle Fagan, said Rosshill Manor had “poorly defined and poorly overlooked streets and open spaces, a high number of cul-de-sacs, and a lack of variety and distinctiveness in the design of the dwellings”. The proposed development, it said, “fails to integrate existing trees and woodlands satisfactorily into the layout”.
These faults, the judgment concluded, “would result in a substandard form of development and would be seriously injurious to the residential amenities of future occupants”.
An Bord Pleanála said it “cannot be satisfied beyond reasonable scientific doubt” that the proposed housing would not harm wildlife in the Inner Galway Bay Special Protection Area, in part because the board had received no “seasonal bird surveys for the site”.
It said “existing deficiencies in the wastewater network” would face heavy demand from hundreds of new residential dwellings.
In 2013, Glenamaddy-born brothers Luke and Brian Comer purchased the former par-3 golf course in Rosshill off the Oranmore Coast Road for a reported €3m.
In January, Mr Duffy’s Alber Homes sought direct approval from An Bord Pleanála under fast-track rules that allow residential developments of at least 100 units to bypass consideration by local councils. Alber had included a two-storey crèche and playground in its proposal.
Recent projects by Galway-based Alber include The Nurseries, 31 homes on Taney Road in the Dublin suburb of Dundrum; Castlebrook Manor, 82 homes on Walker’s Road in Limerick; and Léana Theas, 24 homes on Cappagh Road in Galway city.