RE: Blanchardstown Village Draft Urban Design Framework Plan
Please find below the submission on behalf of the Dublin West Green Party regarding the Blanchardstown Village Draft Urban Design Framework Plan.
We welcome the detailed nature of the Draft Plan. However, we reiterate the point we made in our first submission that the subject area is excessively narrow. In particular, the failure to include the Roselawn Road and surround estates, the Roselawn Shopping Centre and Castleknock Train Station means that significant commercial, transportation and educational infrastructure is omitted, along with surrounding residential areas.
Rail & Metro
We submit that the discussion of Rail at 4.1.1. is quite dismissive. Castleknock train station provides a quality services to residents of the east side of the village, and this service is set to improve in 2010 with the opening of the Dunboyne line.
We would suggest that greater consideration should be given to increasing the accessibility of the Castleknock station to the rest of the village through signage, implementing a proper pedestrian crossing over the Roselawn Road and widening the footpath over the Granard Bridge. This would address the current “detached” nature of the train station. The focus should be on the train line that is up and running, rather than one whose future looks dubious in light of budget cuts.
We argue that increased reference to pedestrian facilities should be made. In particular, there should be a greater emphasis placed on using the Tolka Valley and the Royal Canal as priority pedestrian routes. We would also suggest that pedestrian access to Castleknock Train Station be improved through the creation of a pedestrian crossing on the Roselawn Road and a widening of the footpath over the Granard Bridge, as referred to above.
Bus and Cycle lane Provision
We welcome proposals to create a bus and a cycle lane through the village. There will be a further need to consult with local cyclists to look at specific black spots that they face in the village, particularly on the outbound route which will not receive the benefit of the cycle lane.
The proposed bus lane will result in the elimination of some on street parking in the village. An examination the impact of reduced car parking on surrounding residential estates needs to be undertaken. Some degree of permit parking may be necessary to ensure residents of these areas are not disadvantaged as a result of this.
Closing Main Street
Page 31 of the Draft Plan refers to provision for the closure of Main Street for major events which would attract large crowds. While this would undoubtedly enable more community events to occur, the impact of traffic diversions on surrounding roads, particularly the Roselawn Road, would have to be accessed.
As with our initial submission, we believe that the Draft Plan should make a reference to the need for measures to reduce noise pollution suffered by residents living close to the N3, in particular on Herbert Road and Millstead. Residents of these estates have suffered over the years and the National Roads Authority has made little effort to address the situation. We argue that specific reference to the needs of residents of these estates should be included.
Planning & Rezoning
The Draft Plan identifies 13 ‘Opportunity Sites’ throughout the village and makes proposals for their redevelopment. In nearly all cases, we agree with the need for some degree of redevelopment of these sites. However, in certain situations we feel that the density of what is being proposed, and in particular the height, is grossly unsuitable in light of the objective of protecting the village character.
We welcome the idea of providing a public space as a focal point for activities within the village such as markets or public events. However, we have concerns about the proposal for a 5 storey development on the site. This area is surrounded by established residential estates and we feel such a high development would impose on these properties.
We welcome the proposal to develop this site as it is currently the focus of anti-social activity and causes problems for surrounding residential areas, such as Mary Brennan Park.
The Draft Pan contains an extremely ambitious proposal for the Bell Pub site, including a 6 storey ‘signature building’ at the corner of the Castleknock Road and Navan Road at the east end of the village. We would argue that this is totally out of proportion with the rest of the village and the surrounding houses. If one of the goals of the redevelopment of Blanchardstown is to maintain the character of the village, then we argue that a building of this height in such a prominent position is completely unsuitable.
We would welcome the proposal to have increased linkage from the village to the Tolka Valley and possibly further to the Waterville estate through this site. It should be born in mind that as this site includes some of the floodplain of the Tolka. We would have a concern that the proposed new buildings are significantly further within the flood plane and thus that they have an increased risk of being flooded.
We would have a concern that the proposed 5 storey building at the junction of Main Street and the Clonsilla Road is excessively high, regarding being had to the surrounding area.
The Draft Plan again proposes relatively high buildings of 5/6 storeys at this point. We feel that the height is not such an issue as this is not the traditional heart of the village, and the buildings would be in the setting of other modern buildings such as the Garda Station and the Women’s Refuge.
7.14 A new local objective should be inserted regarding the height of buildings permitted within the village. This should clearly state that buildings will not go beyond 4 stories other that the area around the Garda Station at the north-west end of the village.
We would be broadly supportive of the proposals regarding the Tolka Valley. Any changes need to bear in mind the need to ensure that disturbances are not cause for those houses currently backing onto the village. New pedestrian and cycle links to Waterville, in particular the construction of new bridge are a welcome development.
Linking Blanchardstown Village with the Town Centre
We welcome proposals to improve the linkage between the Town Centre and the village. However, it is important that design features ensure that there remains a distinction between these two different areas with two distinct and different characters.
A possible connection through Springlawn to Town Centre would have both advantages and disadvantages. It would create a shortcut for those on the Clonsilla Road and surrounding estates to the Town Centre. This short cut is already unofficially used with many people jumping the wall at Springlawn. However, increased pedestrian traffic may bring anti-social, litter etc. along with concern about people loitering at the entrance. Any decision on this issue would require consultation and participation of the residents of the estate.