GREEN LIGHT AT THE HIGH COURT
On Monday 14 October 2019 Justice Noonan at the High Court considered our application for a Judicial Review of the An Bord Pleanala decision to grant planning permission for the Bartra development at Bullock, against the advice of their own planning inspectors and our county council.
This was only the application for a JR and, now having been granted “leave”, the actual thing is likely to happen in 2020. But now given the green light to proceed with the review, we have been rummaging through the Bulloch Harbour Preservation Association photo box to remind ourselves of some of the reasons why we are pursuing this judicial review…
Multiple risks of flooding
The site proposed for development by Bartra Property is the former Western Marine commercial building and boatyard at Bullock Harbour. This site is located at the sea end of Bullock Harbour and is so subject to extremely localised flooding that residential development has never previously occurred here. Different types of flooding occur at Bullock and it helps to understand the nature of each. Below we talk about tidal flooding and wave over-topping.
First there is the sort of tidal flooding that you expect to see along the coast during severe weather events where the waves lash over the harbour walls.
But the occurrence and character of tidal flooding is not that simple. Spring tides can push the sea level up at high tide so that the pier is swamped on lovely days. Furthermore, “fresh” east and north east winds are enough to whip up the seas so that high tide is surprisingly lively. We have posted below examples of both of these. Neither occurred during extreme weather events, the lower image being from a few days before storm Lorenzo this year. Both were bad enough to make access to the pier dangerous. The entrances to the apartments and cafe proposed by Bartra Property would be located close to the pier and that end of the quay which is subject to tidal flooding.
The second kind of flooding that we experience at Bullock is wave over-topping. This is a coastal phenomenon that occurs at certain rock formations and in specific weather and tidal conditions. The big Bullock rocks are just such a formation and the weather conditions involve a sustained east or north easterly wind (the fact of the sustained wind is more important than the wind speed) and high tide, especially compounded by a spring tide and /or full moon. The result is that disproportionately huge waves descend on a small part of Bullock – that small part being the rocky outcrop and the former Western Marine building, where Bartra plans to build three 4000 sq feet hyper-luxury homes. These waves are higher by far than any tidal waves and carry debris and projectiles.
Again, the most alarming wave-overtopping occurs during extreme weather but a “fresh” wind on the Beaufort Scale is enough to generate significant overtopping on a lovely sunny day. The image below is from February 2017 – no storm, no storm warnings.
Thanks to the BHPA supporters who have provided images and videos – these are only a small sample. Some of these photos are stills from videos are available to view on our gallery and Facebook group “Save Bulloch Harbour”.