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26 Jan 2022

Council update with plans for Offaly Visitor Centre on hold

Council update with plans for Offaly Visitor Centre on hold

Council update with plans for Offaly Visitor Centre on hold

OFFALY county council has sought further information in relation to an application by William Grant and Sons Irish Manufacturing LTD for a visitor centre at Tullamore Distillery in Clonminch, Tullamore.

The proposal is for a change of use of the existing three storey, three sisters administration building at the site into a visitor centre with ancillary shop.

The application was made to the local authority in May of this year. It has now been put on hold following a request for further information in relation to a submission by Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII).

The planning application seeks approval for one external sign at the main site entrance and one external totem sign at the proposed visitor centre entrance.

In its submission TII considers that the proposal is at variance with official policy Spatial Planning and National Roads Guidelines for planning authorities (2012).

They say the development would set a precedent and adversely affect the operation and safety of the national road network.

The Transport body says prior written approval of TII is required to be obtained for the erection, removal or modification of directional signs on or related to any national road in accordance with TII Traffic Signs Approvals Procedure.

They also contend that if the proposed signs were granted permission it could lead to a proliferation of such developments which would adversely affect the operational efficiency and safety of the national road network.

''The proposed development because of its location where particular vigilance is required, would endanger public safety by reason of traffic hazard due to the location of the signage and also the distraction of drivers,'' the submission states.

Offaly planning authority may determine that the information received contains significant additional data. In that event the applicant will be requested to give further notice in an approved newspaper article and also to erect or fix a site notice on the land or structure to which the further information relates to.

In such circumstances, the 4 week period for determining the application will begin on the date the applicant gives copies of the required notices to the Planning Authority.

The application by William Grant and Sons follows the shock closure of their visitor centre at Bury Quay in Tullamore in 2020 which had been attracting over 40,000 visitors each year.

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