Plans to demolish the former Clare Sisters’ convent in Keady to make way for a housing development have been approved.
Proposals – First revealed by Armagh i In February last year – we have now seen the release of an official notification of the decision.
The development – on Madden Row – was approved despite a number of objections.
The application has been modified slightly from the original plans. The number of planned new homes has been reduced by one, from 30 to 29.
The proposals were submitted on behalf of the Trustees of St Clare’s Abbey.
They were seeking permission to “demolish the vacant convent building and erect 29 residential dwellings, provide hard and soft landscaping including communal amenity spaces, provide parking spaces, and all associated site works.”
Location is on “lIt is located at and south-east of 42 Madden Row, Keady.
According to the design and access statement, the mix of house types is “suitable for the physical setting of the site and helps create an attractive environment.”
The land includes the space occupied by the former monastery and a green space adjacent to it.
Eighteen houses will be built on the site of the abandoned monastery and will open onto a central green space. The lower portion consists of 12 properties served by access to Madden Row.
The statement adds: “The site is located in an easily accessible location within walking distance of Keady town center and an adjacent primary and secondary school.
“There are several open areas in close proximity to the site including a Gaelic football pitch and a football pitch within 60 meters of the site.”
Planting will be included throughout the site and at the boundaries to “enhance the overall character and quality of the space”.
A design and access statement says the proposals will provide a “high quality development” which will be “suitable for modern living”.
He concludes: “The proposed scheme will provide much-needed accommodation that will contribute to meeting the growing demand of a growing population in an area close to services, schools and open spaces.”
The objections were submitted from two different mailing addresses.
Issues of concern include “loss of privacy by overlooking,” “blackout,” and “noise pollution.”
It was also claimed that the new housing would “close out the adjacent narrow house and impact future development plans”.
In their formal report, the planners highlight the important landscaping and agriculture included in the scheme.
They stated: “A detailed planting scheme has been proposed incorporating a large planting scheme throughout the site which would visually soften both the interior design of the proposed development as well as its interaction with the surrounding developments.
“The existing laurel hedges along the rear and side boundaries and the existing spruce trees along the western boundary should be retained. Overall, the landscape plan proposes 43 standard trees ranging in height from 3 to 5 meters and 50 feather trees ranging in height from 2.5 to 3 metres.
“The proposal seeks to provide small front garden spaces and create a ‘tree-lined street’ style entrance to the development, while providing open space along the entrance with Madden Row to soften the frontage of the development from this vantage point.
“The site will also improve pedestrian connectivity across the frontage of the site to encourage potential residents to walk into the town. The internal roads feature hedge detailing to the entrances which helps to contribute to the quality of the overall development.
They also believe there is “sufficient separation between the proposed project and adjacent housing
developments,” and that the plans “will not adversely affect the residential amenities of any dwelling located within an adjacent residential development.”
The former convent building has been left surplus to requirements after it was confirmed in 2021 that the Sisters of St Clare would be leaving the city after a century and a half of service.
Sister Anne Kelly made this sad announcement to parishioners four days before their 150th anniversary, and the sisters were dispatched to the city on July 20, 1871.
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