Niall’s virtual diary archives – Sunday 17 April 2022

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Sunday 17 April 2022: 23:36. Two and a bit months have passed since my last post in my series on my future house build where I showed computer renderings of the ‘shrunken’ seventeen metre wide house designed to fit inside one site of the two I hope to build upon. This was the conservative design intended to not be controversial to the planners, and last post I expected a final decision by June.

I am glad to report that the planners moved a bit quicker than expected, and we received notification three weeks ago that they intend to grant planning permission in early May if no appeals to the decision are lodged. If final permission is granted, then begins the process of purchasing the sites, which will take at least two months. I feel a little nervous about the purchase as sites have risen in price by about 15% since we agreed to buy them last year, plus I successfully cleared the previous planning blockers on that estate by getting local political representative John Paul O’Shea to intervene, so I have this horrible feeling that the sale will go wrong. Only when the land deeds are into my hands will I rest easier.

You can see the planning application and all the gory details at, however to summarise there were only a few absolutely ordinary conditions imposed by the planner:

  1. The proposed development shall be carried out according to the plans lodged.

  2. A commencement contribution fee of €6,342.91 shall be paid to Cork County Council (this is based on internal square meterage of the property, and as much as it looks high, it’s less than half what it would be inside the city).

  3. All new planting on the site shall be native in origin.

  4. Any cutting of vegetation shall be outside the bird breeding season.

  5. No muck nor debris to enter the public road from the site during construction.

  6. Prior to commencement a connection to the public water mains is required.

To be honest, considering some of the conditions imposed by planners on previous developments in the same estate, these are very unimposing. Even only a year ago they were imposing a lot more onerous conditions. I suppose this is a new planner, from the preplanning feedback we really thought she was going to be even harsher, but in the end it turned out not to be so. I’m not complaining however!

The ecological report reckons the development could affect in the Blackwater Special Area of Conservation (these are protected under EU law):

  • Floating river vegetation.
  • Freshwater Pearl Mussel.
  • Sea, Brook and River Lamprey (Eels).
  • Migrating Salmon.
  • Otters.

Of these, the Freshwater Pearl Mussel is the most likely to be impacted, despite them being about 60 km downriver. Indeed, in the application as I described last post I submitted a Habitats Screening statement on said Freshwater Mussels and how this development would not impact them. At that time the Council didn’t employ an Ecologist, which is why everybody had to contract one in, so I took a stab at writing my own report. That turned out to be superfluous to needs, but there was no way of knowing that at the time.

I guess the most surprising thing about the planning approval was the decision to permit materials other than smooth painted render everywhere. They permitted the low stone wall at the front, the charred wood in the middle, the zinc roofed porch, and the expansive glazing element at the front. They also had no issue with the large greenhouse at the back, and the entire of the south facing roof being solar panels. Surprisingly open minded of them.

The planning application for the larger twenty metre house went in a month ago, but it got bounced because I didn’t use yellow paper when printing the copies of the site notice in the application (I did use yellow paper on site). So I had to pay for another newspaper advert, reprinting and reerection of the site notices, and a bunch of other stuff had to be adjusted in the six copies of everything in the application, before I was able to resubmit it end of last week. Assuming it takes three months, that means we’ll hear back about it mid July, which hopefully will be around when I should get the title deeds into my hands. Obviously, if they just go ahead and approve that planning application, then it’s off to the races in terms of getting started on construction detail, but if they don’t approve, then we’ll need to figure out what to do next based on whatever the planner writes in their report as the basis for rejection.

In any case, none of this is anything worth worrying about for the next few months, so I can go focus on other things. My next non-work work task is proposing standardised secure sockets for C++, specifically the proposal paper for WG21. I need to bang it out using my very limited non-work time, and get it submitted and then that’s off to the races as well.

Then it’s all the other stuff I had hoped to get done or even started and I haven’t. Sigh. If only there were more hours in the week!


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