My Observations on Lidl Appeal

 

Monday was the deadline for observations to An Bord Pleanala regarding the five appeals made to the Bord about the grant of planning permission for the Lidl development at Castleknock village.

You can see my observation below.

An Bord Pleanala have up to 6 months to rule on the appeal.

 

The Secretary,

An Bord Pleanála,

64 Marlborough St.,

Dublin 1.

20/11/16

Re: Observation on Appeal An Bord Pleanála Ref: PL06F.247458 (Fingal FW16A/0006)

Dear Sir/Madam,

I would like to make an observation on the appeal to An Bord Pleanala made by the Castleknock Residents Action Group (CRAG), submitted on the 25th October, in respect of the grant of planning permission by Fingal County Council for the construction of a Lidl supermarket and other buildings under application FW16A/0006. I am supporting their appeal under the headings of:

  • Increased Traffic Movement in Castleknock Village
  • Parking
  • Area of Architectural Conservation
  • Castleknock Park

My address is 1 Avon Lodge, the Plaza, Main Street Blanchardstown, D15 X898.

I enclose the €50 fee for an observation.

Yours sincerely,

_________________

Cllr. Roderic O’Gorman

 

Introduction – Context of the Development

This proposed development is for a significant back-lands site in the centre of Castleknock development. It has been the focus of a number of planning applications over the last ten years, with An Bord Pleanala rejecting an appeal against a refusal of planning permission by Fingal County Council in December 2014 and rejecting an appeal against a grant of planning permission for the original Uxbridge proposal in February 2010. All of these proposals have been widely opposed by the vast majority of residents in the area. While it is accepted that this site will be developed, both the current application and the previous ones are regarded as being unacceptable on the combined basis of their scale in a low-rise urban village, their incongruity in an architectural conservation area, their potential impact on adjoining established estates and the impact that the extra traffic generated will cause on the surrounding area.

 

Increased Traffic Movement in Castleknock Village

The proposed development is in close proximity to three national schools: Castleknock National School (1 stream), St. Brigids National School (4 stream) and Castleknock Educate Together National School (2 stream). The size of these schools gives an indication of the degree of movement occurring during the school run period. Both Castleknock National School and the Education Together would have catchment areas running far wider that the Castleknock village area, necessitating the use of cars to get to and from school.

The grant of planning permission allows for opening hours from 8:00am and deliveries from 7:00am. The extra level of traffic activity generated from deliveries and shoppers accessing the development causes concerns from both the point of view of increased congestion, but also safety issues for children walking or cycling to the local schools.

 

Parking

The grant of planning permission allows the development proceed with a significant under-provision of car parking facilities compared to the requirements of the Fingal Development Plan for commercial developments at Table TO3b in the Fingal Development Plan 2011-17. The justification for the provision of 113 spaces, as opposed to the recommended level of 213 spaces, is speculative in the extreme and does not warrant an under-provision of 47% vis-à-vis the recommended amount. Objective Castleknock 2 in the Fingal Development Plan 2011-17 requires that any infill development will improve the physical and environmental characteristics of the village. It is submitted that the overflow parking that will be generated from the under-provision at the proposed development will negatively impact on both the physical and environmental characteristic of the village, which already suffers from a lack of parking spaces.

 

Area of Architectural Conservation

Castleknock is a historic village and this has been given statutory recognition through the creation of an architectural conservation area (ACA) in the centre of the village as part of successive Fingal County Council development plans. While the applicants for planning permission claim to have created a design that is sympathetic with the existing low rise and red brick theme of the village main street, it is difficult from an objective point of view to accept that this has been achieved. The design, materials and stark modernity of the proposed development are completely at odds with the existing scheme of the village. It is submitted that the proposed development breaches Objective AH17 of the Fingal Development Plan 2011-17:

Ensure that any new development or alteration of a building within or adjoining an ACA

positively enhances the character of the area and is appropriate in terms of the proposed design, including: scale, mass, height, proportions, density, layout, materials, plot ratio, and building lines.

The proposed new development does not enhance the character of the area, is not appropriate in terms of scale, mass, layout, material and building lines.

 

Castleknock Park

In the event of a decision to uphold the grant of planning permission, I would argue that An Bord Pleanala should re-examine Condition 12 of the planning permission as decided by Fingal. In the original Uxbridge application, as approved by An Bord Pleanala, provision was made for a full wall at the boundary between the site and Castleknock Park. This has been downgraded to a wall with some fencing on-top under the current grant of planning permission. It light of the major change to the area that would result from the proposed development in terms of increased noise, visual intrusion, lack of privacy, I would submit that at the very least, residents of Castleknock Park should be entitled to have a complete barrier in the form of a full wall placed between their estate and the new development, in order to protect their residential amenity, as is currently provided for under the ‘RS’ zoning that currently applies to this estate.

Coolmine Recycling Centre to open an extra 2 days per week

Response to question I put down last year seeking increased opening hours for Coolmine Recycling Centre

Response to question I put down last year seeking increased opening hours for Coolmine Recycling Centre

I’m delighted that Fingal Management have announced that the Coolmine Recycling Centre is now to open six days a week from 9am to 4pm. This will make it significantly easier for Dublin 15 residents to dispose of their recyclable waste.

Up to now, Coolmine was closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, while Fingal’s other recycling centre in Swords is open six days a week. Considering the population of Dublin 15, I felt this was an unfair allocation of resources, so following the passing of Fingal’s 2016 Budget, I had put questions to Fingal’s management regarding increasing the opening hours at Coolmine. At the time, I was told that the cost of the extra opening hours would have been an extra €150,000 a year, which was considered excessive.

However, due to recent staff reassignments, the Council is now in a position to reopen Coolmine on Mondays and Tuesdays, along with the existing Wednesday to Saturday service.

This announcement about increased opening times follows on from the initiative taken before Halloween which allowed for the free disposal of combustible material at Coolmine Recycling Centre, to avoid such material ending up on bonfires. We should recognise these steps that Fingal’s Operations Department in Dublin 15 is taking to provide more effective services in our community.

Provision for cycling within the new Fingal Development Plan

Throughout October, myself and the other Fingal councillors were voting on amendments to the new draft Fingal Development Plan.

One issue which got a lot of public attention was some decisions taken about the provision of cycling facilities across Fingal. Myself and my Green Party colleague, Cllr. David Healy, had put forward a proposal that when new schools are being built, the Council should acquire any pieces of land around the schools that would be necessary to create a safe walking or cycling route to that school.

We saw this as both important from the point of view of road safety, but also that it is more sensible to try and secure safe routes at the point when a school is being built, as opposed to trying to retro-fit walking and cycling routes onto an existing school.

After a long and fairly contentious debate (you can watch here), our motion was defeated 19 – 16. I was both surprised and disappointed by this. While many councillors who voted against the motion stated they were in favour of safe cycling, I was deeply unconvinced by their reasons for rejecting it.

Subsequently, a majority of councillors rejected a second proposal from Cllr. Healy and myself to place restrictions on HGVs around schools at drop-off times.

On the other hand, we were successful in getting a requirement for a 30kmph zone in proximity to primary and secondary schools, which can be implemented once the draft Development Plan is passed in March 2017. I also had an objective inserted promoting cycle route linkages between Castleknock village with both the Phoenix Park and Blanchardstown village.

Update on Brady’s apartment proposal

Clarifications sought by Fingal planners from developer

Clarifications sought by Fingal planners from developer

I received a notification from Fingal in the last few days that the planners have again written to the developers of the proposed apartments at Brady’s, looking for ‘Clarification of Additional Information’.

I’m pleased to see that the specific issue that I raised in my own recent submission – the failure to include a shadow analysis for the Winter period – was one of the two points that the Council planners identified as lacking in what the developers have supplied to date.

It is essential that the planners are given the correct information about the impact of the proposed four storey apartment blocks on the surrounding existing homes.

Once the developers supply this, we shall have another opportunity to make submissions.

Update on Waterville

Response from Gardai to questions about crime/anti-social behaviour in Waterville

Response from Gardai to questions about crime/anti-social behaviour in Waterville

Some residents in Waterville asked me to address issues related to some break-ins across the estate over the summer and concerns about anti-social behaviour in Waterville Park.

I’ve raised these issues with the Gardai through the Fingal Joint Policing Committee. You can see the responses attached.

I’m glad to see that the Gardai took quick action to address the particular spike in burglaries and that they will continue to monitor the situation.

If any residents have any further queries about this, please get in touch.

St Mochta’s NS Update

Dail question put down to Minister for Education on my behalf by Catherine Martin TD

Dail question put down to Minister for Education on my behalf by Catherine Martin TD

This is the response to the Dail question that my colleague, Catherine Martin TD, submitted to the Minister for Education on my behalf regarding the withdrawal of funding for St. Mochta’s NS.

As you can see, at this stage the Minister has not reversed his decision. The Chair of the school board and the principal are meeting with the Minister next Thursday (29th). Hopefully at that stage, the Minister will have reconsidered.

There will be a public meeting in the school that evening, which I will be attending. I would encourage all concerned members of the St Mochta’s NS / Clonsilla community to attend.

 

Education Minister must provide funding for St Mochta’s NS

The decision of the Department of Education to deny St Mochtas N.S. funding for its rebuild, even though this was publicly promised last November, is a huge blow to the pupils and the entire community in Clonsilla. Conditions in the prefabs in the school are appalling and it is outrageous that children are expected to learn in them.

The Minister for Education must explain why the commitment made to St Mochtas is being broken. The Green Party will be putting a Dail question to him on this issue.

I will continue to work as part of the St Mochtas Task Force, to put pressure on the Department to provide the promised funding.

I have written to Dublin Bus to request an increase in direct bus routes from Waterville to the city centre

I have written to the Chief Executive of Dublin Bus in relation to the lack of direct bus links to the city centre from the Waterville estate. Waterville is a new estate, built over the last 10 year and now has over 2000 homes, mainly made up of apartment and duplex units.

Currently, the 17A and 220 buses travel through the estate, but both of these routes do not serve the city centre. The only direct routes into the city are the 38, 38A and 38B, but these only stop at one point close to the estate along the Snugborough Road. This stop is a considerable distance away from the majority of the homes in the estate.

I am requesting that Dublin Bus review the provision of bus services in this area, with a view to providing a greater service for the entire Waterville estate. In particular, it could be possible for the 38B to run through the estate in the morning and provide residents with a direct route into the city centre. The recent Census 2016 figures showed that Waterville is in the 10th fastest growing electoral district in the entire country. It needs a bus service that matches its population growth.