Thursday, October 28, 2021

A woman is seeking High Court permission to challenge planning permission for a 19.5m high antenna next to her home in Killeshandra, Co Cavan.

Sharon Gumley, of Railway Terrace, claims An Bord Pleanála breached the county development plan and an EU directive in relation to assessment of the project in granting permission to Eircom Ltd for the multi-operator telecommunications antenna.

Mr Justice Charles Meenan said he wanted the board and Eircom to be on notice of her application for judicial review of the permission before considering whether to grant leave to take the case.

He said it can return to court in December when those parties have been notified.

Cavan County Council refused permission for a 21.5 metre high antenna in June 2020 as it was considered contrary to the development plan including because it was policy to encourage co-location and shared use of antennae.

Eircom lodged a new application, with a reduced overall height of 19.5 metres, which was again refused by the council.

Eircom appealed and An Bord Pleanála granted permission, although its inspector recommended refusal.

The board, among its reasons, said the Killeshandra antenna would be located in a “highly suitable and appropriate location” for providing 2G, 3G and 4G coverage in the area. It would also be available for future co-location in the future in accordance with national policy.

Ms Gumley claims the board, in its decision, erred in law and failed to have any or appropriate regard for the provisions of the Planning and Development Act 2000.

The decision, she says, did not address the issues of any conflicting objectives of the development plan, of the Regional Planning Guidelines or whether the antenna was of strategic or national importance.

The board, she says, failed to address guidelines for planning authorities recommending that freestanding masts within the environs of smaller towns should be a last resort when providing for sharing of such installations.

There was also a failure to give reasons for its conclusion that it would not seriously injure the visual or residential amenities of the area, she says.

The antenna will be significantly higher than surrounding buildings and will have a significant effect on the flight patterns of birds going to and from Lough Oughter and associated loughs which are EU designated Special Protection Areas, she says.

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