Tuesday, 3 February 2004

Questions (47)

Trevor Sargent

Question:

169 Mr. Sargent asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the correspondence his Department has had with Meath County Council over the proposal to build a hotel near Trim Castle; and the use to which a €2.5 million EU grant is to be put related to this project, in view of the fact that Dúchas had formulated an objection to the hotel application. [2974/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government)

Under the Heritage (Transfer of Departmental Administration and Ministerial Functions) Order 2002, the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government is a statutory consultee on any proposed development which may have an impact on the natural or built heritage.

In accordance with the relevant planning regulations, Trim Town Council forwarded to my Department on 6 March 2003 a copy of a planning application for a hotel development in the vicinity of Trim Castle. My Department responded to Trim Town Council on 27 March 2003 stating,inter alia, that the scale of the proposed development could have a negative visual impact on the castle and suggested that further information should be sought by the planning authority prior to any decision on the application being made.

This further information was sought by the planning authority and submitted to my Department. My Department responded to this further information on 13 August 2003 reiterating its view that the development should not be permitted to impact negatively or detract from the visual appreciation of Trim Castle and that the proposal should be further scaled back.

On 27 August, Trim Town Council granted planning permission for the development subject to a number of conditions, including a reduced size for the development with fewer rooms and revised elevations. Conditions were also attached requiring the developers to undertake archaeological monitoring of all sub-surface works carried out within the development site. In addition, the developers were required to submit revised layouts setting the building back from where it was originally proposed.

There was no further correspondence between my Department and Trim Town Council regarding the proposed hotel. My Department has no role in the matter of grants for the hotel development.