Aldi in Clonsilla: FCC asks for better traffic impact information

 

I’m pleased to see the request for Additional Information made by Fingal County Council Planning Department to the developers of the proposed Aldi in Clonsilla village. The Council planners have requested additional information about a range of issues, including the amount of traffic that will be generated. The proposed development includes a two storey Aldi store, a crèche and 20 three storey houses.

I raised this proposed development at the Fingal County Council local area committee, as I was concerned that the original traffic survey on which the application is based was inadequate. The developer had stated that they only assessed the impact that this development would have on traffic between 4:00pm-7:00pm in the evening. They claimed that, as the Aldi store would only open at 9:00am, there was no need to assess its impact on morning traffic. At the time, I argued that this approach was flawed, due to the significant levels of traffic that Clonsilla village has every morning, generated by the level crossing, St Mochta’s NS and more generally, the large number of people living in the area.

The Fingal planners have now requested that the Aldi developers submit new additional information about the traffic generated by the proposed crèche in the development. They have also asked that the developer provide traffic projections both in and outside of peak hours, and for all the date on which their traffic impact assessment is based.

I think most people accept that this site in Clonsilla village needs redevelopment. However, we cannot make the same mistakes as were made in the past when adding new commercial and residential units to existing villages. I hope that if Aldi submit the requested additional information, they will be able to deal with the legitimate questions about how the traffic from this new development will be managed.

Additional Information Request – Aldi Clonsilla Village

Confirmation by Transport Minister that future proposed changes to level crossings in Dublin 15 will see advanced consultation with local residents

 

I’m pleased that the Minister for Transport – Pascal Donohoe – has committed that any future proposed changes to level crossings in Dublin 15 would be preceded by engagement with local residents. This same commitment had been made by the former Transport Minister, Leo Varadkar, during the June 2014 local elections. I’ve been seeking to have the new Minister confirm this commitment since he was appointed.

 

In May of last year, a freedom of information request I made to the National Transport Authority revealed that both the NTA and Fingal County Council had undertaken two studies examining the impact of closing level crossings in Dublin 15 along the Maynooth line and proposing alternative crossing points. The failed attempt to shut the level crossing at Porterstown followed on from these plans. At the time, the then Transport Minister, Leo Varadkar, circulated a leaflet in which he stated that no further efforts to close level crossings on the Maynooth line would be made prior to the end of 2018. He further stated that, in future, “consultation with local residents will take place long before any plans are put on public display”.

 

Since Pascal Donohoe was appointed Transport Minister in July 2014, I have been corresponding with his Department to see will he make similar commitments (see letters below). I am pleased that he has now finally reaffirmed both that no further efforts will be made to close crossings prior to 2018, but more importantly, that residents will be consulted prior to any future proposals going on public display.

 

The attempt to close the Porterstown Road level crossing in late 2013 – early 2014, with minimal engagement with local residents, deeply angered the community in the Clonsilla area. It has generated concerns in communities such as Coolmine and Ashtown that a similar top-down approach will be adopted towards the level crossings in these areas. It is absolutely vital that agencies like the National Transport Authority operate in a transparent fashion with local residents and properly respond to all the side effects that would result from any future proposals to close level crossings.

 

Response – Donohoe – level crossing (Dec 14)

Response – Donohoe – Level Crossings (Oct 2014)

Response – Donohoe – Level Crossings (Sept 2014)

My concern about the traffic survey being used in the Aldi planning application for Clonsilla village

 

Yesterday, at the Castleknock-Mulhuddart local area committee of Fingal County Council, I raised some concerns about the traffic survey that had been submitted as part of the Aldi planning application for a two storey store and 20 three storey houses in Clonsilla village.

This site, close to Lambourn, has long been the subject of planning applications to build a supermarket and housing units.

One element of this new application that really concerns me is the traffic submission. The applicants state that they only assessed the impact that this development would have on traffic between 4:00pm-7:00pm in the evening. They claim that, as the store would only open at 9:00am, they do not need to assess its impact on morning traffic.

I think this approach is deeply flawed. Anyone who drives through Clonsilla village in the morning knows that it suffers from significant backlogs of traffic, generated by the level crossing, St Mochta’s NS and more generally, the large number of people living in the area.

I have specifically asked the Fingal County Council planners considering this application, to give very careful consideration as to whether this planning application has properly assessed the impact of this major development on traffic in an already congested village.

Aldi planning application in Clonsilla village

Plan of proposed Aldi store and housing development in Clonsilla
Plan of proposed Aldi store and housing development in Clonsilla

Aldi have made a new application for planning permission at the site opening out onto the Clonsilla Road beside Lambourn estate.

The development consists of a 2 storey Aldi shop including an off-licence and crèche, 20 three storey houses, a new public plaza off the main road and 140 car parking spaces including 100 for the shop and 40 for the houses.

The planning application number is FW14A/0144. The deadline for objections or observations is the 23rd December.

You can now register online and make your objection/observation through the Fingal website. The relevant form is here.

Alternatively, you can write to Planning Department, Fingal County Council, County Hall, Main Street Swords, Co. Dublin.

Include your own name and address, and also you must use the number for this planning application: FW14A/0144.

Remember, there is a €20 fee to make an objection or observation.

If you want to get in touch with me regarding the application, please do so.

Planning Application at Weaver’s Walk, Clonsilla

Plan of new development at Weaver's Walk, Clonsilla
Plan of new development at Weaver’s Walk, Clonsilla

A planning application for a significant residential development between Weaver’s Walk and Lambourn has been submitted. The proposed development will consist of 21 two storey houses with a mixture of detached, semi-detached and terraced units.

The development would be accessed from a new vehicle entrance onto Weaver’s Walk. The application also refers to pedestrian access from the Royal Canal.

You can see the plans here – use the development code FW14a/0081.

The deadline for objections or observations is close of business on the 7th August. These should be sent to the Planning Department, Fingal County Council, County Hall, Main Street Swords, Co. Dublin. Include your own name and address, and you must use the number for this planning application: FW14a/0081.

You can also register online and make your objection/observation through the Fingal website here

Remember, there is a €20 fee to make an objection.

 

New Transport Minister must fulfill commitments made on level crossings in Dublin 15

 

I’ve written to the new Transport Minister, Pascal Donohoe, in relation to a commitment made by his predecessor, Minister Varadkar, in June of this year. In response to concerns being expressed across Dublin 15 about the potential closure of level crossings, Minister Varadkar circulated a leaflet locally in which he stated that no further efforts to close level crossings on the Maynooth line would be made prior to the end of 2018. He further stated that, in future, “consultation with local residents will take place long before any plans are put on public display”.

 

The attempt to close the Porterstown Road level crossing in late 2013 – early 2014, with minimal engagement with local residents, deeply angered the community in the Clonsilla area. It has generated concerns in communities such as Coolmine and Ashtown that a similar top-down approach will be adopted towards the level crossings in these areas.

 

On behalf of residents living in the area, I have asked Minister Donohoe to restate the commitments given by Minister Varadkar that a) no further attempts to close these level crossings will be made before late 2018 and b) where there are proposals to close level crossings, residents will be consulted before planning document go on public display.

 

Having already revealed Irish Rails long term plans for these level crossings through my freedom of information request, I will continue to work with residents to ensure that they are fully involved in any proposals for these level crossings.

New Education Minister needs to clarify meeting date and funding situation for St. Mochta’s NS

 

I’ve written to the new Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan to gain clarification about when the Department of Education intends to meet with the Board of St. Mochta’s NS to give final sign off on the plans to rebuild the school. The school has had its design plan and budget for the rebuild completed for a number of months. However, it has been waiting for an appointment with the Department in order to go through these plans so it can then move onto the next stage and be in line to receive funding.

 

This appointment has been pushed back on a significant number of occasions since the start of the year. Parents and teachers in the school are becoming increasingly concerned about the additional delays that are attributable to the Department. I wrote to Ruairi Quinn shortly before he resigned to see why the Department was dragging its feet, but while the Minister acknowledged my query, he did not give me specific information.

 

While this situation continues, the pupils in the school have to learn in overcrowded and damp facilities, which are totally unacceptable. Minister O’Sullivan needs to act quickly and secure a meeting for St. Mochta’s with the Department.

Update on Level Crossing closures in D15

Minister Varadkar letter June 2014

I’m pleased to see that Minister Varadkar has issues a letter clarifying some issues regarding the proposals to close level crossings in Dublin 15. This issue first came to public attention late last year with the attempt to close the Porterstown Road LC, but also applies at Coolmine and Clonsilla.

The Minister has stated that no work will take place until the end of 2018 at the earliest.

He has also stated that “… consultation with local residents will take place long before any plans are put on public display”.

I think this statement is really important. When I brought information into the public domain about what was being considered by the National Transport Authority and Fingal County Council through a Freedom of Information request, it was obvious that a lot of research had taken place without any public consultation. This research formed the basis of the attempt to close the Porterstown Road LC.

While we need to improve rail infrastructure across Dublin 15, it is vital that local communities who will be directly impacted by any changes are fully consulted and not railroaded (excuse the bad pun) into situations by public authorities.

I would expect that if Minister Varadkar is no longer Minister for Transport in 2018, whoever succeeds him must fulfil this commitment for full and early engagement with residents.