Plans to demolish the former Sisters of Clare Convent in Keady to make way for a housing development have been approved.
The proposals – first revealed by Armagh I in February last year – have now seen a formal decision notice issued.
The development – at Madden Row – has been approved despite a number of objections.
The application had been amended slightly from original plans; the number of new houses planned has been reduced by one, from 30 to 29.
The proposals had come forward in the name of the Trustees of St Clare’s Convent.
They have been seeking permission for the “demolition of the vacant convent building and erection of 29 residential dwellings, provision of hard and soft landscaping including communal amenity space, provision of in curtilage car parking spaces, and all associated site works”.
The site is on “lands at and the south east of 42 Madden Row, Keady“.
According to a design and access statement, the mix of house types are “appropriate to the physical setting of the site and help to create an attractive setting”.
The land includes the area occupied by the former convent and a greenfield side next to it.
Eighteen of the houses will be built on the disused convent site and open out on to a central green space. The lower part consists of 12 properties to be served by their own access onto Madden Row.
The statement adds: “The site is located in a highly accessible location within walking distance of Keady town centre and a neighbouring primary and secondary school.
“There are several areas of open space in close proximity to the site including a Gaelic football playing field and a soccer pitch within 60 metres of the site.”
There would be planting included throughout the site and to the boundaries to “enhance the overall character and quality of the space”.
The design and access statement says the proposals would deliver a “high quality development” which would be “suitable for modern living”.
And it concludes: “The proposed scheme will provide much-needed accommodation which will contribute towards the growing demand for an increasing population in an area in close proximity to services, schools and open spaces.”
Objections were lodged from two different postal addresses.
Among the issues of concern were “loss of privacy via overlooking”, “overshadowing” and “noise pollution”.
It was also claimed the new housing “would land lock the adjacent parochial house and would affect future development plans”.
Planners, in their official report, highlight the significant landscaping and planting included in the scheme.
They stated: “A detailed planting scheme is proposed which includes a substantial augmentation planting scheme throughout the site which will visually soften both the internal layout of the proposed development and also its interface with the surrounding developments.
“The existing laurel hedges along the rear and side boundary and existing firs along the western boundary are to be retained. Overall the landscaping scheme proposes 43 standard trees ranging from 3-5m in height and 50 feathered trees ranging from 2.5-3m in height.
“The proposal seeks to provide small front garden spaces and create a ‘tree lined avenue’ style entrance to the development, with open space offered along the entrance with Madden Row to soften the interface of the development from this vantage point.
“The site will also improve the pedestrian linkage across the site frontage to encourage prospective residents to walk into town. The internal roads have entrance hedging detail helps contribute to the quality of the overall development.”
They also believe there is “sufficient separation between the proposed development and neighbouring residential
developments”, and that plans “would not adversely impact the residential amenity of any dwelling located within a neighbouring housing development”.
The former convent building has been left surplus to requirements after confirmation in 2021 that the Sisters of St Clare would quit the town after a century-and-a-half of service.
Sister Anne Kelly made the sad announcement to the parishioners four days shy of their 150th anniversary, the sisters having been sent to the town on July 20, 1871.