Blanchardstown ‘Co-Living’ planning decision is a direct result of Fine Gael policy

My submission to An Bord Pleanala on Brady’s Co-Living site (see the rest below)

I’m shocked and disappointed at the decision of An Bord Pleanala to grant planning permission for this co-living development on the Brady’s Pub site, even though their own inspector recommended rejection. Co-living is the wrong model for Ireland and this suburban site is absolutely the wrong place for co-living.

This decision is a direct consequence of Fine Gael’s policies. The Guidelines that Minister Eoghan Murphy wrote in 2018 to allow for co-living developments and high density building out of the city centre are the direct basis on which An Bord Pleanala made this decision. There has been no thought put into the co-living model: what protections will be in place for the tenants who live in them, what can the buildings be used for if the rental companies sell them on in a few years?

Over the last few months, I’ve been working closely with local residents who will be directly impacted by this development. I put in an objection to An Bord Pleanala as I felt it was completely the wrong design for this location, and I spoke against it at Fingal County Council.

No doubt the Taoiseach and local Fine Gael reps will be criticising this particular decision. They need to understand that the decision is the direct result of their Government, their Minister and their policies.

Submission – Bradys – An BP [PDF]

Strategic Housing Development application at Windmill estate

A planning application has been submitted by Kimpton Vale Ltd for 211 apartments in four blocks, ranging in height from six to eight storeys, at the Windmill estate, beside St. Mochtas. It is proposed that there will be 10 studio units, 68 1 bed units and 133 2 bed units. You can see the plans at the developers website www.windmillshd.ie

I have major concerns about this application in terms of the size and scale of what is being proposed. There is already planning permission on this site for 143 apartments. Increasing this by 68 units is excessive.

Because the development is for more than 100 units of housing, the Strategic Housing Development (SHD) process applies. This means that the application is decided directly by An Bord Pleanala – Fingal County Council does not decide the planning application.

However, the Fingal planners must present the planning application to local councillors under the Strategic Housing Development law and we then have the opportunity to highlight our concerns to the planners. This took place at our Council meeting today. You can watch my own comments here.

My own submission focused on 1) the overall excessive and inappropriate nature of this development 2) why an emergency entrance into St. Mochta’s estate was being required 3) the lack of childcare facilities in the proposed development 4) the existing pressure on local primary schools 5) the fact that existing public transport networks are unable to absorb large numbers of extra commuters.

The deadline for submissions to An Bord Pleanala is 14th January 2020.
Any person may make a submission in writing to:
An Bord Pleanála, 64 Marlborough Street, Dublin 1
Any submission or observation must be accompanied by the prescribed fee of €20.

If you would like to discuss these or any other issue with me, please get in touch.

Decision by An Bord Pleanala to keep childcare facility on Carpenterstown Road is good news

I am delighted to see that An Bord Pleanala has rejected the attempt by the developers of the Bracken Park estate on the Carpenterstown Road to turn a building which is supposed to be used for childcare into two five bedroom houses, and then sell them off. Both Fingal County Council and now An Bord Pleanala have rejected this attempt. The Carpenterstown area has an extremely young population – we should be providing more childcare facilities there, not less.

Under the law, when a large new estate is built, the developer is obliged to build a childcare facility as part of the planning permission. In the case of the Bracken Park estate, the developer built a childcare facility, but it has never opened. The developer has twice sought planning permission to turn the childcare facility building into two houses, which it could then sell off.

I had previously raised a concern about this practice in Fingal Council meetings, as it is a way for developers to avoid their obligations under the law and make a quick profit. It would also mean that those who are purchasing homes in new developments may face difficulties in obtaining childcare, which in turn would make it difficult for both parents be in paid employment, should they choose to do so.

Fingal County Council originally rejected the developers proposal, as they were worried that it would set a precedent that other developers would simply not open the childcare facilities they had built and later try and turn them into houses to sell. I hope this decision sends out a strong message to developers that they won’t be able to do this.

Following this decision, it is essential that the developer acts to find a childcare provider so that this facility can finally be opened. There’s huge demand for childcare in the area – parents deserve essential facilities like this, particularly when the estate was marketed on the basis that there would be childcare available.

Possible Road through St Catherine’s Park

St. Catherine's Park is a key resource within the Liffey Valley and must be protected
St. Catherine’s Park is a key resource within the Liffey Valley and must be protected

In recent weeks, I have been contacted by a significant number of people concerned about a possible road being built through a section of St. Catherine’s Park. There is an ‘indicative’ road marked through the Kildare County Council section of the park on the current Fingal Development plan. I discussed this with the Fingal County Council planners and they made it clear that an ‘indicative road’ on a development plan map merely showed the general direction that a road will travel, rather than any specific route.

Despite that assurance, I can fully understand why local residents would be concerned. As such, I had put down a motion the situation in St. Catherine’s Park which was debated at a Council meeting on the 1st June. A number of other councillors had also put down motions.

You can see a link to the video of these discussions here (there’s a small problem with the microphone’s at the start of the video, but it gets resolved):

As you can see, there is strong opposition from all local councillors to any attempt to build a road through any section of St. Catherine’s Park. We are working together to see what options are available to us to change the current development plan.

I will absolutely oppose any attempt to construct a road through St. Catherine’s Park and I know my Green Party colleague on Fingal will support me in this.

Planning application at Dunsoghly

Location of the two sites for the proposed new houses
Location of the two sites for the proposed new houses

Two planning applications for a total of 73 houses have been submitted for sites at the back and the side of Dunsoughly estate.

The application Ref. numbers for the two applications are FW17A/0066 and FW17A/0067.

If you wish to make an objection or observation on one or both of these applications, your objection must contain your name, address and the planning application Ref. number. An objection should be sent to the Planning Department, Fingal County Council, County Hall, Main Street Swords, Co. Dublin. You can also register online and make your objection/observation through the Fingal website here.

There is a €20 fee to make an objection. As there are two planning applications here, if you want to object to them both, you have to submit two separate objection letters (and two separate €20 fees).

The deadline for objections is the 29th May.

I organised for the two planning application be discussed at the Fingal Local Area Committee on the 4th May. Myself and the other councillors put questions to the Planners about the application. You can find a link to the video of this discussion here (the discussion of Dunsoghly is at 4:00 and then again at 24:00).

I am working with the residents group and the other councillors to assist residents in making their submissions to Fingal County Council. If you want to get in touch with me about this, my email is rodericogorman@gmail.com and number is 087 4179777.

New planning application near Clonsilla village

A planning app has been submitted for the site a the corner of the Clonsilla Rd and the Clonsilla Link Rd.
A planning app has been submitted for the site a the corner of the Clonsilla Rd and the Clonsilla Link Rd.

A significant new planning application has been submitted for the site at the corner of the Clonsilla Road and Clonsilla Link Road, beside Porters Gate estate.

The proposed development is for:

  • 103 residential units in total (made up of 67 two storey houses and 36 apartments in two 3 storey blocks)
  • A two storey convenience food store of 1,300m2 aprox
  • A single storey building with a cafe and shop
  • 40 carparking spaces for the aparetment blocks and 82 spaces for the commercial development
  • An ESB substation
  • New entrance off the Clonsilla Link Road (opposite entrance to Castlefield Court)

There is already planning permission in existence (which applies up to 2020) for 166 residential units (138 apartments and 28 houses) and some commercial units on this site.

The applicant number is FW16a/0176. The deadline for submission is the 13th Jan.

Feel free to get in touch if you wish to discuss this or any other issues with me.

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.

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.