An Bórd Pleanála refuses retention planning for North Kerry soccer pitch

An Bórd Pleanála has refused permission for retention planning for a North Kerry soccer pitch.

The matter had been referred to the planning appeals board by Ballyheigue Athletic after Kerry County Council also refused to give the project the green light.

Ballyheigue Athletic had applied to retain a soccer pitch and entrance as completed and permission for a container to be used as changing rooms at Buncurrig, Ballyheigue.

The site is located immediately adjacent to Ballyheigue beach and it is accessed via the GAA grounds and a number of houses with the final stretch on a small track.

The pitch was constructed between the caravan park and the sand dunes with part of the dunes removed, flattened and seeded to provide the pitch.

Ballyheigue Athletic told An Bórd Pleanála the pitch has the majority of local support, isn’t commercial and provides an amenity for young people in the winter.

There are 80 players from 11 to 22 years of age and the club says interference with the ecosystem was minor and the site is outside the Special Protection Area.

However, the board upheld the council’s decision saying it would contravene the Kerry County Development Plan which seeks to protect sand dunes and prohibits the removal of material from them.

It adds the pitch would seriously interfere with the character of the landscape and its natural beauty and the existing road and track serving the pitch is substandard.

Finally, it said it would not be satisfied that the development would not be likely to adversely affect nearby sensitive environmental areas.