A firm is contesting Wicklow County Council’s comprehensive rejection of a planned €40 million boutique holiday resort and surf school for cliff top lands overlooking Magheramore Beach.
An Bord Pleanála confirmed that Paddy McKillen Jr’s Creatively Pacific Ltd has lodged an appeal against the council decision.
Last month, the council refused planning permission to Creatively Pacific Ltd on seven separate grounds.
The planned resort consists of a two-storey over lower ground level building containing a gym, sauna, cinema and outdoor pool reception, bar and restaurant and outdoor terrace at ground floor and also involves the construction of a surf school building and 48 “high-quality accommodation pods”.
Documents lodged with Mr McKillen Jr’s Oakmount planning application stated that once the project is operational, it will employ 160 jobs and that is to follow 200 construction workers being employed during the 18-month-long construction phase.
However, after a wave of opposition with over 90 parties lodging objection against the schemes, the council rejected the proposal at the end of May.
Those calling for the scheme to be rejected included former RTÉ broadcaster Valerie Cox and retired missionary nun Sr Kathleen Melia of the nearby Missionary Sisters of St Columban at Magheramore.
In her objection, Sr Kathleen described Creative Pacific Ltd’s "grandiose plan" as "the height of folly”.
The opposition against the tourism development included objections from two local TDs, Stephen Matthews from the Green Party and Sinn Féin's John Brady.
In its rejection of the project, the council ruled that the project “would set an undesirable precedent for similar type development in this sensitive landscape, would appear visually out of character with the coast and would interfere with the environmental quality and amenities” of the coastal area.
The council also refused planning permission after concluding that given the site's proximity to the Magherabeg Dunes Special Area of Conservation (SAC), insufficient evidence has been submitted to demonstrate beyond reasonable scientific doubt that the proposed development would not adversely affect the integrity of the Magherabeg Dunes SAC.
Making a personal submission as one of the volunteer gardeners at the 15-bed Wicklow Hospice at Magheramore, Valerie Cox told the council that “the location of this proposed resort, directly across the road from the Hospice, would be a travesty of all the reasons the Hospice was built there – tranquility, peace, easy access and end of life comfort”.
The Arklow resident said: "A bustling resort incorporating the facilities in the application would destroy the ambiance of the Hospice.”
A planning report lodged by Manahan Planners on behalf of the applicants stated that “the project vision is to create a beautiful, world-class destination for people to enjoy within a wonderful setting”.
The planning report stated that the architectural design "is respectful of its location" and the architects have produced a building “that will successfully contribute to its environment”.