Monthly Archive for August, 2008

Gormley takes action to deal with noise pollution

I’m delighted to see that John Gormley is acting on the commitment in the Programme for Government to tackle the problem of nuisance noise. Yesterday, he announced the opening of a public consultation on the issue. Complaints about noise pollution is something that crops up regularly on the doorsteps, whether its house alarms going off for days at a time, noisy neighbours or disturbance from building works. This public consultation will be the first step in drawing up legislaiton on the issue.

Noisy neighbours is an issue that is raised with me more and more by residents in Dublin 15. The Consultation Document sets out a number of suggestions as to how this issue can be dealt with more successfully. These include giving greater powers to local authorities and to the Gardai, such as issuing on the spot fines to offenders.

House or car alarms sounding constantly is another problem, particularly in built up estates. They can cause serious disturbance, particularly if they continue to ring all day and night. The Consultation Document makes some suggestions on how this could be addressed, including giving the Gardai the power to enter a house where the alarm has been sounding for a long period of time, and disable it. Obviously, there are legal issues involved here with a Guard entering private property – these all form part of the items that will be discussed during the consultation period.

Ill publish my own submission once I’ve drawn it up. I will be calling on John to create a position of Noise Control Officer in each local authority. This was what the Green Party previously proposed in our Neighbourhood Noise Bill, 2006.

The closing date for receipt of submissions is the 31st October. I would urge anyone who is interested to write or email in their views to John in the Department of the Environment and contribute to this important debate.

Submissions should be marked “Noise Legislation Review‘ and sent, not later than 31 October, 2008, preferably by email, with “Noise Legislation Review” in the subject line, to: noiseconsultation@environ.ie

Or

Eoin Deegan
Air Quality Section
Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government
Custom House
Dublin 1

Press Release – O’Gorman calls for traffic signs to be moved at Coolmine level crossing

Dangerous Signs at Coolmine level crossing

Dangerous Signs at Coolmine level crossing

27/08/08

Green Party Castleknock ward candidate, Roderic O’Gorman has called on Irish Rail to reposition the warning signs at Coolmine level crossing as he says they pose an obstacle for pedestrians.

“I have written to Irish Rail and asked them to consider moving the ‘large vehicle’ warning sign at the Coolmine level crossing. The signs are mounted in such a way as to block a significant part of the footpath and create an obstruction to pedestrians. The footpath is already very narrow at this particular point and I have seen parents with buggies forced out onto the road. I can only imagine it is difficult for wheelchair users to negotiate passing them also”, stated Roderic O’Gorman.

“I think everyone who uses Coolmine station welcomed the construction by Irish Rail of the pedestrian bridge crossing the canal. However, the positioning of these signs remains an obstacle to those crossing the tracks, at what is a very busy crossing, both with pedestrians and cars, at peak time”.

“While I understand that there is a legal obligation to have a warning sign, I have asked Irish Rail to examine the site and see if the signs could be moved to a safer and more appropriate location. Indeed, in their current location, drivers of large vehicles would have almost crossed the tracks by the time they could see the signs, so from the point of view of Irish Rails legal obligations, it’s probably a good idea to move the signs also”, concluded Roderic O’Gorman.

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Further Information
Roderic O’Gorman: 087 417 9777
rodericogorman@gmail.com

Press Release – O’Gorman calls for major changes to Castleknock village development proposal

24/08/08

Green Party Castleknock Ward candidate, Roderic O’Gorman has called for major changes to be made to the proposed development of lands behind the Ashleigh Shopping Centre in Castleknock village. It was commenting after submitting a planning objection to the proposed development on behalf of the local Green Party.

“I’ve submitted an objection to this proposed development as I have serious concerns about certain aspects, specifically the residential element, the large number of parking spaces provided and the overall height of the buildings”.

“I would have a major worry about the height of some of the proposed buildings. While I accept that the Castleknock Urban Centre Strategy (UCS), which was recently adopted by the Council, suggests an indicative height of 4 stories for buildings in this area, I would argue that this is inappropriate in an area which still has a typical village setting. I would say that at most, buildings should not exceed 3 stories and that the proposed development should be amended to reflect this”, stated Roderic O’Gorman.

O’Gorman was also critical of the number of car parking spaces proposed for the development. The planning application provides for 336 car parking spaces in a basement car park, comprising 89 residential spaces and 277 commercial spaces.

“Provision for such a large number of cars is obviously going to have a big impact on traffic in the centre of Castleknock village. I believe that the proposed number of spaces is too great. As I point out in my objection, the amount of parking contained within the proposed development is significantly more than the amount which the Castleknock UCS suggested would be appropriate. I would propose that the number of parking spaces be reduced in line with what the Castleknock UCS suggests, in order to reduce the traffic impact on the village. Castleknock Village will soon be served with a significantly upgraded bus corridor. As such, the use of public transport should be encouraged as much as possible – creating large commercial car parks acts as a disincentive to this”, stated Roderic O’Gorman.

O’Gorman also called for a reduction in the number of small one and two bedroom apartments in the scheme and for more family friendly 3 bed apartments.

“Out of the 49 proposed apartments in the development, only one is a 3 bed, all the rest are 1 or 2 beds. As such it is clear that there is a significant undersupply of large, family friendly 3 bed units and an oversupply of 1 bed units. In a development that is being promoted as a model of new urban design, we think it is highly inappropriate that so many small apartments should be constructed. This would also be in keeping with the Castleknock UCS, which suggests limiting the number of small apartments”.

“While I would welcome certain aspects of this development, such as the idea of an extension of the existing streetscape and the plans for new civic spaces, I hope Fingal County Coiuncil will take on board the reservations myself and residents have on the issue outlined in our objections”, concluded Roderic O’Gorman.

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Further Information
Roderic O’Gorman: 087 417 9777
rodericogorman@gmail.com

Planning Objection lodged by Dublin West Green Party
Senior Executive Officer,
Planning Department,
Fingal County Council,
County Hall,
Swords,
County Dublin.
13/08/08

Re: Objection to Development F08A/0892

Dear Sir/Madam,

I would like to lodge the following objection on behalf of the Dublin West Green Party to development F08A/0892 – in Castleknock, Dublin 15.

Yours sincerely,

____________________________

Roderic O’Gorman

Introduction

We welcome elements of the proposed development, in particular the idea of an extension of the existing streetscape and the plans for new civic spaces. However, we have significant concerns about the residential element, the large number of parking spaces provided and the overall height of the buildings.

Residential Element

We believe the current residential element of the proposed development does not comply with the mix suggested by the Castleknock UCS.
P 29 of the Castleknock UCS states:

All apartment schemes shall contain a mix of dwellings types and sizes and therefore shall comply with the following standards:

Maximum 20% of 1 bed
Minimum 45% of 2 bed
Minimum 15% of 3 plus bed

The proposed development contains the following residential mix:

One bed 11 (22%)
Two bed 37 (75%)
Three bed 1 (2%)
Total 49 (100%)

As such, compared to what is outlined in the Castleknock UCS, it is clear that there is a significant undersupply of large, family friendly 3+ bed units and an oversupply of 1 bed units. In a development that is being promoted as a model of new urban design, we think it is highly inappropriate that so many small apartments should be constructed.

We believe that there should be a decrease in the number of 1 & 2 bed apartments and an increase in the number of family friendly 3 bed apartments.

Parking

The proposed development provides for 336 car parking spaces in a basement car park, comprising 89 residential spaces and 277 commercial spaces.

Provision for such a large number of cars is obviously going to have a significant impact on traffic in the centre of Castleknock village. We believe that the proposed number of spaces is too great. In support of this, we note the table on P 27 of the Planning Support Statement supplied with the planning application. This draws a comparison between the suggested amount of parking contained within the Castleknock UCS, the actual amount provided in the proposed development and the suggested amount contained with the Fingal Development Plan. The amount provided for in the proposed development is significantly more than is suggested as being appropriate in the Castleknock UCS.

We would propose that the number of parking spaces be reduced in line with what the Castleknock UCS suggests, in order to reduce the traffic impact on the village. Castleknock Village will soon be served with a significantly upgraded bus corridor. As such, the use of public transport should be encouraged as much as possible – creating large commercial car parks acts as a disincentive to this.

Height

We are concerned about the height of some of the proposed buildings. While we accept that P 20 of the Castleknock UCS suggests an indicative height of 4 stories for buildings in this area, we would argue that this is an inappropriate height in what is a still a typical village setting. We would propose that at most, buildings should not exceed 3 stories and that the proposed development should be amended to reflect this.

Press Release – Time to stop flushing money down the toilet – O’Gorman

24/08/08

Time to stop flushing money down the toilet – O’Gorman

Green Party Castleknock Ward candidate, Roderic O’Gorman has welcomed the announcement that the Minister for Environment, John Gormley, is make the use of water saving, dual flush toilet cisterns compulsory from later in the year.

“I know that after the summer we’ve just have, people don’t really want to hear about saving water. However, I think this is a really beneficial decision from the Minister for the Environment”.

“Currently, more than one third of the drinking water we treat here in Ireland is used to flush toilets. This new regulation will mean that all new toilet cisterns must be supplied with a dual flush. Dual flush toilet cisterns have a mechanism that allows two modes of operation, involving a 6 litres and a 4 litres flush. By contrast, current single flush cisterns generally use between 6 litres and 9 litres per flush”, stated Roderic O’Gorman.

“It’s estimated that if the dual flush toilets are installed in all new dwellings, it should reduce drinking water consumption by approximately 10% in these dwellings, or by almost 500 million litres of drinking water every year. This is beneficial both from the environmental point of view in saving water, but also as a means of saving money as it is expensive to treat water to ensure it is safe to drink. It’s ridiculous that so much treated drinking water is literally being flushed down the toilet each year and it is great to see that much of this waste will now be avoided”, concluded Roderic O’Gorman.

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Further Information
Roderic O’Gorman: 087 417 9777
rodericogorman@gmail.com

Press Release – O’Gorman calls for new apartment guidelines in Fingal

18/08/08

Green Party Castleknock ward candidate, Roderic O’Gorman has called on Fingal County Council to swiftly draw up new planning guidelines concerning the size of apartments that can be built in the Fingal area.

“I am calling on Fingal County Council to introduce new guidelines on the size of apartments that can be built by developers. For too long, apartment developments in the Dublin 15 area have focused on large numbers of small one and two bedroom apartments. These ‘shoebox’ developments are not family friendly and this discourages families settling for long periods and in the long run, prevents communities from forming”, stated Roderic O’Gorman.

“Recently, Dublin City Council drew up a new set of guidelines for the city area. Developments built according to these guidelines will be far more conducive to families – for example they set significantly larger minimum floor sizes for apartments, place restrictions on the number of one bed apartments and require a minimum of 15% 3 bed apartments in all developments”.

“I believe that, in areas like Dublin 15 which have seen large amounts of intensive building, we have to make sure that any new apartment developments are of a much higher standard than those built up to now. In recent weeks we have seen a planning application in Castleknock village which includes 48 one and two bed apartments but only 1 three bed apartment. This sort of development needs to be changed”.

“At the recent meeting of Fingal County Council concerning the Kellystown rezoning, the Green Party councillors secured a commitment from Gilbert Power, Director of Services for Planning that the Council would quickly draw up new apartment guidelines for Fingal. I am calling on the Council to quickly act on this commitment”, concluded Roderic O’Gorman.

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Further Information
Roderic O’Gorman: 087 417 9777
rodericogorman@gmail.com

Press Release – Commitment for new planning guidelines on flood prevention welcomed – O’Gorman

18/08/08

Green Party Castleknock ward candidate, Roderic O’Gorman has welcomed the commitment from the Department of the Environment to swiftly publish planning guidelines on flood prevention.

“I’m pleased to see that the Department of the Environment has been working on developing new planning guidelines to deal with flood prevention already, and will have these ready for publication in September or October. The reality of climate change is that Ireland is going to suffer from more and more extreme weather events, and this fact needs to be taken into account in development”, stated Roderic O’Gorman.

“The guidelines are being developed in conjunction with the Office of Public Works. They will require local authorities to include flood risk areas in their development plans. This will put local authorities in a better position to deal with emergency situations like we have experienced over the last two weeks”.

O’Gorman also highlighted how overdevelopment could have made a significant contribution to the major flooding in the Dublin area.

“Some of the worst of the flooding in the Dublin area over the last two weeks has occurred in places which have seen major building work over the past years, including along the N3 beside the Blanchardstown Centre and along the Finglas Road towards the Tolka valley. The fact that huge patches of green space have been concreted over and many trees and hedges have been removed means that there is nothing left to soak up rain water, and as such it lodges on roads”, concluded Roderic O’Gorman.

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Further Information
Roderic O’Gorman: 087 417 9777
rodericogorman@gmail.com

Press Release – O’Gorman welcomes progress on parking problems in Luttrell Park

10/08/08

Green Party Castleknock ward candidate, Roderic O’Gorman has welcomed the decision of Fingal County Council to implement some single yellow lines in the Luttrell Park estate. However, he has called on the Council to go further.

“I was recently canvassing door-to-door in Luttrell Park, where one of the main issues that was raised with me was the disruption caused by large volumes of commuter parking occurring within the estate. Residents described to me the difficulties that this caused – bin lorries unable to make pick-ups and more seriously, ambulances unable to access certain parts of the estate”, stated Roderic O’Gorman.

“I made representations to Fingal County Council on this issue – specifically stating that single yellow lines should be implemented in a number of locations to ensure that at least one side of the major access roads would be kept car free”.

“I am pleased to say there has been some, admittedly small progress on these issues. The Transportation Dept. of Fingal County Council have contacted me to say that they will be implementing a single yellow line along the west side of Luttrel Park Drive from the main road to the junction with Luttrell Park Close”.

“While this development is welcome, I do not believe that it goes far enough to deal with the parking issues currently being experienced. However, Fingal County Council have committed to keeping the issue under review and I will continue to lobby the Council on the issue of commuter parking in the estate, particularly in light of the new charges being implemented at Coolmine Station”, concluded Roderic O’Gorman.

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Further Information
Roderic O’Gorman: 087 417 9777
rodericogorman@gmail.com

Press Release – New planning guidelines will deliver schools more quickly – O’Gorman

05/08/08

The publication of a new code of practice – The Provision of Schools and the Planning System – has been welcomed by Green Party Castleknock ward candidate, Roderic O’Gorman. He was speaking after the joint publication of the document by the Minister for the Environment, John Gormley and the Minister for Education, Batt O’Keeffe.

“Parents in the Dublin 15 area have suffered greatly over the last 15 years due to the failure of Fingal County Council and the Department of Education to properly coordinate the granting of planning permission for new houses with the construction of new schools. This new code of practice – The Provision of Schools and the Planning System – seeks to ensure that local authorities and the Department of Education are working together and meeting the needs of local communities”

“This new code of practice builds on the principle set out by Minister Gormley in recent guidelines on Sustainable Residential Development in Urban Areas where it was set down that no new large estates should be built before an assessment of the need for school places in the area or the provision of new schools places at the same time as the residential development. The two documents are part of the commitment the Green Party obtained within the Programme for Government to reform the manner in which schools are planned and developed throughout the country”, stated Roderic O’Gorman

“Some of the proposals in the new document mirror practices that have been occurring in Fingal already, such as the Department of Education using the local authority as its agent in purchasing sites for schools and also, the use of multi-school campuses which also contain community facilities”.

“There is also a proposal to exempt from the planning system temporary school buildings and minor development works in schools. This will mean that these works, which are often of an emergency nature, can now happen with minimum delay”, concluded Roderic O’Gorman.

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Further Information
Roderic O’Gorman: 087 417 9777
Rodericogorman@gmail.com