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.