Monthly Archive for June, 2015

Fingal commitment to improve road safety measures at Scoil Cholim NS is welcome

Story 4 (pic)

I’ve been in touch with parents and teachers at Scoil Cholim NS regarding road safety concerns for children arriving and leaving the school each day. I recently visited Scoil Cholim during the morning school run along with some parents to see the issues for myself.

There is significant concern that some people are parking outside the entrance to the school by pulling up on the cycle path that many parents and children use each morning. This causes a real risk as it blocks lines of sight and forces pedestrians and cyclists back onto the footpath. I’ve requested the installation of bollards to prevent motorists being able to park up on this cycle lane.

I’ve also requested that the pedestrian barriers at the Porterstown Road – Diswellstown Road cross roads be extended. This is now an extremely busy crossing point with students going to both Scoil Cholim and Luttrellstown Community College. The current barriers are very short and really do nothing to control the movement of students across the point at busy times. Something similar was done at St Mochta’s NS last year and it made crossing significantly safer.

Fingal County Council have committed to examining the traffic issues that I have highlighted and to look at the provision of funding for these measures in next year’s Budget. I will be arguing strongly that these measures are implemented, as there are now two busy schools on the Luttrellstown campus and it is essential we take all measures to make access to it safe for students and parents.

Dublin West Green Party holds successful Royal Canal Clean-Up

Volunteers with some of the rubbish collected on the annual Dublin West Green Party Royal Canal Clean-Up

Volunteers with some of the rubbish collected on the annual Dublin West Green Party Royal Canal Clean-Up

I want to thank all the volunteers who were out with us this evening for our Annual Royal Canal Clean-Up. We worked a stretch of the Canal between the 12th Lock and Coolmine Train Station, picking up cans, glass, plastic bottles and other rubbish. We got a significant amount of waste collected, which Fingal County Council is now going to dispose of.

What is particularly positive is that, in the eight years we have been doing this, I’ve never seen the canal bank so lightly littered. There was significantly less waste this year than on previous occasions. This is a good sign and suggests people are valuing the Canal more

The Royal Canal continues to be a significant amenity for Dublin 15 residents and a potential tourist attraction for visitors interested in walking or cycling holidays. In the context of the new Fingal County Development Plan, I’m going to continue to work to ensure that it is protected for everyone’s enjoyment.

Minister Kelly has provided no evidence to back up his threats on housing standards

Last week, the Minister for Environment wrote to the Chief Executive of the four Dublin local authorities, claiming that “viability of new development and therefore supply, will be placed at risk by insertion of unreasonable or excessive requirements in relation to the standard of housing g or ancillary services and facilities …”. This comes in response to a Green Party proposal in the Dun Laoghaire – Rathdown Development Plan to include provision for ‘passive housing’ standards in the development plan. A Green Party councillor on South Dublin County Council was able to insert a provision on rainwater harvesting in that areas plan.

Passive housing is a housing standard where by using thorough and precise building design housing can be constructed with an energy demand 90% lower than most buildings. These buildings become extremely cheap to heat and run in the medium to long term.

Minister Kelly is actually seeking to have councillors in local authorities enact lower building standards. He wants us to permit houses that will be colder, less efficient and more costly for home owners to run. He has provided absolutely no evidence to back up his claim that these houses are more expensive to build. Indeed, there is ample evidence that passive houses are now being built for the same cost as the usual, less efficient houses.

I’ve no doubt the Minister has been lobbied by vested interests like the Construction Industry Federation and NAMA. I’ve submitted a Freedom of Information request to the Department asking for all communication and lobbying that it has received on this issue. I think that housing standards should be set according to what is going to be best for home owners, not what suits big builders. This is how I will vote when this issue comes up for discussion in Fingal.

Letter from Min Kelly to Paul Reid, Chief Executive of Fingal CC

Carpenterstown Road Traffic Calming: Public Submissions

Carpenterstown Road -Proposed Traffic Calming Scheme.

Following pressure over the last year from myself and other councillors, the Council has agreed to undertake traffic calming measures at the Carpenter Pub roundabout and have provided the necessary funding for these.

The proposal includes a number of ramps between the Carpenter roundabout and the Coolmine Station roundabout, and also between the Carpenter roundabout and the entrance to Burnell Park estate.

The plans are on display in the Fingal offices in Blanchardstown, and will also be available online.

If you want to make a submission about the proposal, write to Mr. Michael Carroll, Administrative Officer, Operations Department, Fingal County Council, Grove Road, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15.

Submission must be made before 4:30pm, Friday 17th July.

Developers Must Obey Planning Rules in Fingal

At the May meeting, my motion below calling for Fingal to create a policy on refusing planning permission to builders/developers who have previously breached planning laws at their other developments, was debated.

This Council calls for the creation of a policy document regarding how the Council implements S.35 of the Planning & Development Act, 2000 (as amended) which would be publically available to anyone considering undertaking development in Fingal. This Council asks that the Planning & Strategic Infrastructure Strategic Policy Committee immediately begin work on drafting this policy and bring it back to the full Council for adoption within 12 months.

This provisions allows local authorities refuse to grant planning permission when the LA is of the opinion that the developer

  1. not in compliance with a previous permission or
  2. with a condition to which the previous permission is subject or
  3. has carried out a substantial unauthorised development, or
  4. has been convicted of an offence under this Act

A local authority can then refuse the developer permission under one of these grounds, and it is up to the developer to go to the High Court and seek to have this overturned. Unfortunately, the provision has never been used, either in Fingal or in any local authority across the country.

I put forward this motion as, now that building has started again in Dublin 15, it is vital that Fingal CC is stricter than it was in the past with developer who ignore planning laws. While the majority of developers are interested in creating good quality homes, there are still those who are interested only in profit and are prepared to take any short-cut necessary to achieve this. I think Fingal needs to make it very clear that, going forward, it will not allow builders/developers to ignore the law.

The response from the Council officials to my motion was disappointing. However, I’m going to continue to pursue this matter as I think proper planning and the need for developers to obey the rules are issues that are too important to let slide again.

Fingal CC votes to support my motion to bring back Windfall Tax on Rezoned Land

 

At our meeting in May, Fingal County Council voted to support my motion calling on the Government to reverse its abolition of the 80% Windfall Tax on the profits of the sale of land where that land enjoys increased value due to a rezoning decision. You can see my (short) speech on the issue here.

When we or any Council pass a motion to rezone land, the value of that land increases, dramatically. At the stroke of a vote, we massively increase the wealth of that owner, and this is through no work or effort of that particular individual.

I believe that it is proper public policy that a significant part of that extra value should go back to the state. This is why I support the Windfall Tax. It is not a tax on work. It’s not a tax on entrepreneurship.

It is also important to remember that the Mahon Tribunal in its report into planning corruption stated “the introduction of an 80% windfall tax on profits/gains attributable to land rezoning by the National Asset Management Agency Act 2009 is likely to dramatically reduce incentives to make corrupt payments to influence land zonings should the opportunity to make such profits return”.

I hope the Government will re-consider its hasty decision to abolish this tax. I will certainly continue to highlight this issue.

Royal Canal Clean-Up: Wed, 17th June

 

The annual Dublin West Green Party Royal Canal-Clean Up will take place on Wednesday, 17th June, meeting at 7:00pm at Castleknock Train Station.

We plan to work on the stretch to the 12th Lock and towards Coolmine Station.

Gloves and bags will be provided.

Hope to see you on the 17th.