Rathconrath House, Killahugh, Rathconrath.

Racing stables and yard planned for Rathconrath House

Westmeath County Council have granted planning permission for racing stables and yard at Rathconrath House, Killahugh, subject to 14 conditions.

The application is by Andrew and Rhona McNamara. A former jockey and now trainer, Andrew McNamara and his wife plan to erect two new stable blocks comprising 24 stables, two wash bays and two loose boxes, a feed store, tack room, haybarn, a 20m diamond horse-walker, as well as six isolation loose boxes, and water harvesting tanks.

As part of the development, they plan to demolish the existing derelict and semi-derelict outbuildings and part of the garden wall, and to refurbish the existing carriage house and two agricultural sheds to the rear.

That includes the partial re-roofing of the carriage house, the opening of locked-up apertures, the installation of new door and window joinery, and of conservation roof lights.

The two agricultural sheds will be re-roofed in profiled steel cladding to match the existing slate roofs in colour.

The carriage house and sheds will continue in their existing agricultural ancillary use.

Included in the plan is the re-pointing and weathering of the walled garden, the structured stabilisation and weather protection of the existing derelict gate lodge and field cottage, and a new entrance and gate.

The pair also plan to replant the existing beech trees, which includes their felling, and the creation of a new ‘shelter belt’ with native Irish species.

The development will not involve any works or alteration to the existing domestic dwelling, Rathconrath House, a protected structure.

Among the 14 conditions set out by the planning authority are stipulations regarding heritage and ecology. The council state that the applicants must, prior to the commencement of any works, submit a list of all existing ironmongery hinges and latches within the ‘Middle Yard’, and for the wrought iron gate in the adjacent field to be incorporated within the restoration works.

The council also state that before commencing works on the derelict gate lodge and field cottage, a detailed statement of the planned structural stabilisation works and weather protection works, should be submitted and approved in writing by the authority first.

Regarding ecology, a condition is that the removal of suitable nesting vegetation must be completed outside the main bird nesting season, March 1 to August 31, while the felling of mature trees on the site boundary is to be preceded by a bat emergence survey on the night preceding the tree felling.

The planning authority state that, should bats be identified emerging from any of the subject trees, a derogation licence from the National Parks and Wildlife Service will need to be obtained prior to the tree works, in order to comply with the Wildlife Act and Habitats Directive.