Bawnboy mast approved despite council objections

An Bord Pleanála has approved a controversial new mast in Bawnboy - despite it been refused planning permission by Cavan County Council and the board's own planning inspector recommending refusal.

Eircom had applied for permission for a 15-metre mast at its exchange in the west Cavan village in February.

The local authority refused permission for the development, citing the impact it would have visually on the surrounding area.

It also highlighted the proximity to nearby residential buildings and a potential conflict with the Cavan County Development Plan.

A number of submissions were made to Cavan County Council on the plans, primarily from local residents.

They also raised concerns about the proximity of the planned mast to homes and St Aidan’s National School, which is located nearby.

Eircom subsequently appealed the county council’s decision to An Bord Pleanála, saying the development is necessary to improve coverage in the area.

It said the mast was purposely designed in a “slimline” form as it would be centred in the centre of a village.

It is “not dissimilar to a lamp standard of traffic light pole which are commonplace in villages in Ireland”, the company told An Bord Pleanála.

It also said it has assessed the area and no other site or structure could be used to provide the required level of coverage.

Following examination of the plans, submissions and reasons behind the council’s refusal for the development, the An Bord Pleanála inspector advised planning permission be refused.

In their report they highlighted the height and location of the mast and said there was a failure to show that this was a “last resort location”.

However, the planning board itself decided to grant approval for the project.

In its decision it says it took into consideration the inspector’s report but said the site, being an Eircom exchange, is “a highly suitable and appropriate location”.

It attached six conditions to the development.