Monthly Archive for July, 2014

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.


Rejection of Lidl proposal welcome, but call for an even bigger development in Castleknock village must be opposed


I’m pleased that planning permission for the Lidl development on the Flowershop site in Castleknock has been rejected. Along with many residents of the area, I had real concerns that the builder had not fully taken account of the traffic that the proposed development would generate, nor had the parking needs of the new supermarket been properly assessed. I also felt that the design of the buildings did not fit in with the current look of Castleknock village.


However, I’m very worried that in rejecting the Lidl development, the planners did not mention these concerns, but rather stated that the proposal was an “underutilisation” of the Flowershop Site. This indicates that the planners actually want a higher density development on this site, perhaps similar to the 5 storey Uxbridge plan, granted permission in 2010. They also stated that they wanted a mixed development, including a residential aspect along with the commercial buildings.


At no stage, is any reference to the traffic or parking problems that would have been created by the Lidl proposal mentioned. However, the planners did accept that the design was out of character with the existing buildings in the area.


There is clearly a fundamentally different vision for the future of Castleknock village between the planners on one hand and the local community on the other. Much of this stems from the grossly inappropriate Urban Centre Strategy for Castleknock which was adopted in 2010. We now need to completely revisit this and, taking account of community wishes, create a planning strategy for Castleknock village that uses land efficiently but also has genuine buy-in from local residents.


Reasons for Rejecting Planning Permission


Reason Having regard to the level of development permitted on the site and to the level of development proposed, and having regard to the location of this prominent undeveloped and serviced site within the centre of Castleknock Village, in close proximity to public transport and public amenities, it is considered that the proposed development would represent the underutilisation and the inefficient use of serviced and zoned lands and, as such, would be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area. 
Reason Having regard to the location of the site part of which is within the Castleknock Village Architectural Conservation Area and which is adjacent to 6 no. Protected Structures, it is considered that the proposed development by reason of its design would be out of character with the pattern of development in the area and would be visually obtrusive when viewed in the context of the existing streetscape. The proposed development would, therefore, adversely affect the Architectural Conservation Area and adjacent Protected Structures, would conflict with Objectives AH13 and AH17 of the Fingal Development Plan 2011-2017 and would, therefore, be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area. 
Reason It is an objective of the Fingal Development Plan 2011-2017 and the Castleknock Urban Centre Strategy to provide for mixed uses in any redevelopment of this site to enhance and develop the urban fabric of Castleknock. Having regard to the mix of day-time only uses proposed and which excludes the provision of any residential development, it is considered that the proposed development would represent the inefficient and unsustainable use of this prominent site, would materially contravene the TC Zoning Objective, Vision and Local Objective 619 of the Fingal Development Plan 2011-2017 and would be inconsistent with the Castleknock Urban Centre Strategy. The proposed development would, therefore, be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.
Reason It is considered that the proposed development, by reason of its substandard layout, design, form, public space and streetscape would constitute an inappropriate urban design response to the site. The proposed development would, therefore, be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area. 
Reason It is considered that the quantum and scale of signage proposed would result in visual clutter, would seriously injure the visual amenities of the area and detract from the character of Castleknock Village and the Architectural Conservation Area and would be contrary to Objectives UC19, TO65, UC25 and Objective Castleknock 4 as set out in the Fingal Development Plan 2011-2017. The proposed development would, therefore, be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area. 

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.

Pedestrian crossing lights needed at Somerton Park GAA grounds

Blind corner at Somerton Park crossing

Blind corner at Somerton Park crossing

I’m putting forward a motion at the Castleknock-Mulhuddart area committee this Thursday that pedestrian lights should be installed at the entrance to Somerton Park on the Porterstown Road. This is an issue that was raised with me on numerous occasions during the local election campaign.


Visibility at the current crossing point is poor, particularly from the club side of the road. It is hard to see more than 20 metres to the right, and traffic moves quickly, having just come up under the M50 on a straightened section of road.


Castleknock GAA is a thriving club and a huge number of people, particularly kids, use this crossing. It is vital we make it as safe as possible for people to walk and cycle to Somerton Park. I hope the other councillors will support me on this motion.

My objection to Lidl development in Castleknock village


I put in a planning objection yesterday, calling on Fingal County Council to reject the application by Lidl to build a development at the Flower Shop site in the centre of Castleknock village. This site has had a controversial history, and I have been active over the years in trying to ensure that it is developed properly.


My objection to the current planning application is that it pays insufficient attention to the traffic that would be generated by the development, and provided for inadequate parking.


One issue of significant concern is the short period over which the application surveyed the existing level of traffic passing through Castleknock village. The Transport Report submitted by Lidl states that its engineers measured the current traffic flow between 8:00-9:00am and 5:00-6:00pm on Wednesday 5th February. I was shocked that only two hours were assessed when such a major planning application is being made. The time period measured totally ignores the reality of Castleknock village, were traffic can build up from about 4:00pm and regularly is still busy well past 7:00pm. The time periods measured also fail to take account of the afternoon school run to the two nearby primary schools.


The parking provision in the plans is completely inadequate. The development proposes 98 spaces, but this is below what the Fingal Development Plan states would be needed for a site of this size. The developers try and justify this by saying there will be “cross over usage with main street parking”. This basically means that the developer accepts that there isn’t enough parking, and that existing parking in the village, which is already under so much pressure, will now have to meet the requirements of the new development.


There is also a major concern that some of the planning documents suggest that the developer wishes to create a pedestrian route into Castleknock Park across their existing green space. Residents fear that this would lead to the cul-de-sac being used as an overflow car-park for Lidl. I absolutely oppose using the green space in Castleknock Park in this way.


While this development is an improvement on the existing Uxbridge proposal in that it is not as high, it nevertheless has not been properly thought out. The traffic and parking projections fail to take account of the reality in Castleknock village. Residents should not be forced to accept a bad development, just because it is a slight improvement on the existing plans. It is on this basis that I have objected to the proposal.


Lidl Objection [Cllr Roderic O’Gorman]