Residents lose battle to put a halt to school extension plan

Residents opposed to an extension to a South Galway primary school have been refused leave to appeal a decision of the County Council to grant planning for the development.

Recently Galway County Council granted planning for an eight classroom extension to Craughwell National School. The development also includes a general purposes hall, a new set-down area and additional car parking spaces.

The works would also replace a number of prefabs that are used to accommodate pupils at the school while a new sewage treatment plant would also be provided as part of the development.

However, a number of local residents opposed the new development on the grounds that it would result in over 400 cars per day using the neighbouring cul-de-sac where there are four houses located.

The residents have expressed fears that the proposed traffic lay-out at the school will make it difficult for them to access their homes for at least two hours on school days.

“Traffic jams would be right outside our front gates on the cul-de-sac instead of out on the main road where they currently exist for two hours a day,” the residents argued.

Following many years of campaigning eight new classrooms will be provided on a five-acre site in Craughwell and will be integrated with the existing school building.

It is the culmination of intense efforts by the school’s Board of Management who have expressed delight that planning permission has finally been granted for the project.

It now means that the provision of the new classrooms can go to tender stage and it is hoped that this process will be completed later in the year with construction to commence in 2019.

The development of a new school has been welcomed by Galway East TD Sean Canney who said that he had been working with the local committee on the project for several years.

It will include eight classrooms, a general purpose sports hall, a multi-purpose room, offices for administration and the principal, a lift, toilets, car parking and a drop-off and pick-up area.

The planning report states that the existing building will be refurbished as part of the development while 24 car parking spaces will be provided while parent drop off and collection points are also part of the plan.

It is a two-storey development that will also include a reconfiguration of the access and set-down areas outside the school along with the provision of a bike rack and perimeter fencing.

The school is located around a mile from the village and the authorities there have acquired additional property in which to expand subject to their requirements.

But the residents sought leave to appeal this decision on the grounds that an entrance to the school is planned along their cul-de-sac. “This would bring traffic chaos to a narrow road designed only as an access road for four houses,” they state.

An Bord Pleanála refused leave to appeal on the grounds that the development for which permission has been granted will not differ from that what is set out in the application.

The school is required to provide a road safety audit as part of the conditions of planning.