Category Archives: Trim Municipal District

Trim Municipal District

Update: Narconon Trust, Ballivor

TO: All Trim MD Cllrs
FROM: Meath County Council Corporate Services

At the January meeting of Trim Municipal District, during a discussion on the proposed drug rehabilitation centre in Ballivor, the following queries were raised:

  1. Do the planning regulations require that a declaration/opinion issued in relation to a proposed development being determined as an exempted development form part of the planning file and therefore made available publicly/online?
  2. Why was the correspondence with Narconon Trust from September 2016 not made known to Councillors last December?

These queries were referred to the Planning Department and I include responses received below:

  1. There is no requirement in the legislation for publication of notice of Section 5 applications nor is there provision in the legislation for public submissions on such applications. The Act requires that details of any declaration issued by the Planning Authority shall be entered in the public register. The Act further specifies that “the register shall be kept at the offices of the Planning Authority”. Details of all Section 5 Declaration applications are entered on a publicly available register held in the Planning Department and this is available for inspection by any person. Details of these applications are not currently available on-line.
  2. The issue came to public attention following a media story in late November/early December 2017 which described a proposal by The Church of Scientology to establish a drug treatment centre in Ballivor. It is understood that an organisation linked to the Church of Scientology called Narconon had purchased the site sometime early in 2017. The focus of enquiries was on applications for planning permission and requests for formal or informal pre-planning by Narconon or the Church of Scientology. It was assumed, incorrectly as it now transpires, that any such approach would have happened in 2017 sometime after Narconon had purchased the site. No record was found of applications or contacts in that time period and the Councillors were informed in good faith in a briefing note on 14th December that we had no information.

It subsequently emerged on the basis of a wider search of records that Narconon Trust had submitted an application for a Section 5 Declaration in late August/early September 2016, some 6 months before they purchased the site and more than a year before the story came to public prominence. As soon as that information came to light details were passed on to public representatives and to the media.

It is acknowledged that, in the interim, Councillors attended a public meeting without knowledge of the 2016 application and this is regretted.

Meath County Council – Statement – Narconon Trust Development, Ballivor

Meath County Council granted planning permission for a nursing home on the site of the old National School building (Ballivor) in December 2014 (planning reference TA140621) to Smith and Smith, Rathmore, Aughnacliffe, Co. Longford. In September 2016, the Council was asked by Narconon Trust for an opinion as to whether or not a change of use from the permitted nursing home to a drug rehabilitation centre required further planning permission.

Having considered the relevant legislation and regulations, the Council was of the opinion that the change of use described was an exempted development and Narconon were so informed.
The Council can only give an opinion based on its interpretation of relevant legislation.

An Bord Pleanála is the final arbiter of whether or not planning permission is needed.
As the Planning Authority the Council’s only consideration is whether or not the site is planning compliant. To date there is no evidence to suggest that it is not.

All other matters relating to this issue are outside of our remit.

Update – Old National School Ballivor – Church of Scientology-Narconon

TO: All Trim MD Cllrs.
FROM: Meath CoCo Planning, Enterprise & Environment

Dear Councillor,

I wish to update you in relation to the position with the Old National School at Ballivor, the existing planning permission and the ongoing local concerns about the future use of the site.

We had previously confirmed that there had been no recent requests for pre-planning meetings and no recent contacts relating to the development and that remains the position.

We have now carried further searches to establish if there had been any applications or contacts in previous years by The Church of Scientology or Narconon.

The Council can now confirm that in August 2016 we were requested by the Narconon Trust c/o McGill Planning, 7 Fitzwilliam Street Upper, Dublin 2, to make a declaration in accordance with Part V of the Planning & Development Acts as to whether or not a change of use from a nursing home to a residential drug rehabilitation facility was an exempted development.

The Council issued a declaration on 2nd October 2016 that the change of use as outlined in their submission was exempted development (and therefore would not require planning permission).

There is no record of any contacts by The Church of Scientology and there is no record of any further contact since then by the Narconon Trust.

As previously outlined I would emphasise that the final arbiters of whether or not planning permission is required are An Bord Planeala and it is open to any person to submit a further Part V application for determination at any time.

I will update you with any further information that comes to hand.

Briefing note for Trim MD Councillors – Ballivor (Church of Scientology-Narconon)

TO: All Trim MD Cllrs.
FROM: Meath CoCo Planning, Enterprise & Environment

I have been requested to provide some background information to the Trim MD Councillors in relation to media and local reports that the Church of Scientology proposes to establish a drugs rehabilitation centre or similar in Ballivor.

At the outset I wish to clarify that the Planning Section has no information on this matter other than the media reports referred to above and that, to date, we have not been approached for any pre-planning discussions. Therefore I have no relevant information on which to base any opinions and this note should be taken in that context.

The Site / Zoning:

I understand that the site in question is the site of the old school on the edge of the village.

The site has the benefit of 2 zonings, B1 and G1. (Section 2.9.6 of the CDP)

B1 – to protect, provide for and/or improve town and village centre facilities and uses
G1 – to provide for necessary community, social and educational facilities

Planning Status of the site:

Planning permission was granted in December 2014 for the following development. (Ref: TA 140621).

proposed change of use and refurbishment of the existing 545m2 National School building to a proposed new nursing home and with the provision of additional extensions over two phases. The proposed change of use to a nursing home development is to provide for adequate day, dining, office, staff, spiritual and support space requirements. A Phase 1, 512.5m2, single storey extension is proposed to the rear of the existing and will consist of 13 no. single and 1 no. double, accessible, ensuite bedrooms with sanitary support spaces around a single, garden courtyard arrangement and will require the demolition of the existing, 23.5m2 bicycle shed in combination with a new landscaping arrangement to include for a horticulture area, the provision of solar/PV panels on the existing roof, together with the provision of 11 no. on-site parking spaces and all associated site and ancillary developments works. An additional, Phase 2, 1795m2, single storey extension is proposed to the rear and will consist of 31 no. single and 5 no. double, accessible ensuite bedrooms, additional day, staff and sanitarty spaces around a second, garden courtyard arrangement and will require minor alternation to the interal layout of the existing structure, created for the Phase 1 development. A 36m2, double height, foyer space to the front elevation of the existing facade is also proposed under Phase 2 of the development. 27 no. additional parking spaces are to be provided to the rear of the proposed together with all associated site and ancillary development works.

This permission is valid for another 2 years (approx).
The permission was granted to “Smith & Smith Limited” with a Mullingar address.

Will a new permission be required?:

A question has arisen as to whether or not a “change of use” permission or a new planning permission would be required were the development to proceed as reported. In the absence of any details about what exactly is being proposed I cannot offer any opinion other than to make some general comments.

Relevant considerations would include:

The building/development: – whether or not the building/development to be constructed complies in every material way with the plans/drawings of the development for which planning permission was granted.

Planning conditions: – whether or not all planning conditions attached to the grant of permission can be complied with.

The proposed use: – whether or not the use proposed falls into the same category of use as that permitted under TA 140621. In this context the provisions of the Planning & Development Regulations 2001-2009 may be relevant in particular Part 4 (Classes of Use) – Class 8* and Class 9*. In general change of use from one class of use to a different class requires permission. Change of use within a class is generally exempt.

The applicant/developer: Planning permission is concerned only with the USE of land and not with the applicant. The applicant is NOT a consideration when assessing an application other than that they must demonstrate a sufficient legal interest in the lands to allow them to make the application and subsequently to develop. In general at application stage this is taken to mean the applicant identifying themselves as the owners of the lands or someone applying with the express consent of the owner.

I would re-emphasise that this note should be regarded as general background briefing material, it is not an interpretation of the legal position or an indication of our intention to act in any particular way.

It should also be noted that while the Council can offer an opinion on whether or not planning permission is needed ultimately that can only be determined by An Bord Planeala on foot of a formal referral to them. And I repeat that as of now we have no information on what is being proposed.

*Class 8 – includes use as a health centre or clinic or for the provision of medical or health services or as a “day centre”.
*Class 9 – refers to the provision of residential accommodation and care to people in need of care. It also includes a hospital or nursing home.

Trim – Free Parking Christmas 2016

Comhairle Chontae na Mí
Páirceála Baile Atha Troim um Nollaig, 2016/17
Car Parks all day parking
Saturday 3, December / Dé Sathairn 3, Nollaig
Saturday 10, December / Dé Sathairn 10, Nollaig
Saturday 7, January / Dé Sathairn 7, Eanair
All On Street Parking 11.00 – 18.00 & Car Parks all day
Saturday 17, December to Saturday 31, December
Dé Sathairn 17, Nollaig go Dé Sathairn 31, Nollaig

Free Parking in Trim.

Free Parking in Trim.

William Rowan Hamiltion and Space Navigation

An Illustrated Talk By Dr. Fiacre Ó Cairbre

William Rowan Hamiltion is Ireland’s greatest mathematician and is widely regarded as one of the world’s most outstanding mathematicians ever. This remarkable Irishman spent much of his youth in Meath and had his early education in Trim.

OPW HQ, Jonathan Swift Street, Trim, Co. Meath..
Friday 7th October 16:00 – 17:00.
No booking required.
This talk is free of charge.

William Rowan Hamiltion and Space Navigation

An Illustrated Talk By Dr. Fiacre Ó Cairbre.

Notice of Question – Residents Only Parking Sarsfield Avenue

Trim Municipal District Ordinary Meeting 16th September 2016.

6 Notice of Question
6.1 Submitted by Councillor Trevor Golden

“At the Trim Municipal District meeting held on the 21st September 2015, the following was agreed:

“Following consideration of the issues, it was agreed that signage, indicating ‘Residents Only Parking’, would be erected at Sarsfield Avenue. It is now a year later, why have these works not been completed?”

The sign ‘Residents Only Parking’ is currently being produced, as part of a larger signage order, and will be erected at Sarsfield Avenue as a matter of priority.

Coolronan Bog Leaflet

Coolronan Bog Leaflet Launch

Coolronan Bog Leaflet Launch

The Meath / Westmeath Peatland Heritage Group have launched a leaflet for Coolronan Bog. Supported by Meath County Council under the Community Heritage Grant Scheme and launched by Cathaoirleach Brian Fitzgearld at the Coolronan Ecology Centre. View the Coolronan Bog leaflet in PDF format.

Find out more with the Meath Westmeath Peatland Heritage Group on Facebook