Over the last two years, residents of Castleknock have been strong in their opposition to the Castleknock Urban Centre Strategy (UCS), which was foisted upon them by the Council management. Their opposition is based on the fact that it would allow for completely inappropriate development in a historic village like Castleknock. Over the last three years since the UCS was first mooted, I have worked alongside residents in trying to change it and have opposed the major development in the centre of the village based upon it.
Regrettably, the views of residents were completely ignored by councillors from Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, who along with some independents and two Labour Party councillors, voted not to remove the Urban Centre Strategy from the Draft Fingal County Development Plan.
Ironically, the vote was passed by a margin of one [p2320-1]. A local Fianna Fail councillor who narrowly beat me in Castleknock in the Local Elections in 2009, abstained rather than following residents wishes and voting against the UCS. If I had been elected instead of her, we could have had a tied vote and pressured the Mayor to use his casting vote against the UCS.
In my recent submission on the final stage of the Draft Fingal Development Plan, I have called on the Council to insert a provision stating that no planning permission will be granted for buildings in Castleknock village over three storeys. This can be done by making an amendment to the reference to Castleknock village in the Strategic Overview of the Development Plan.
I’m calling on both Fianna Fail and Fine Gael councillors to support my proposal. As we enter into a general election campaign, these politicians must stop ignoring the wishes of locals and vote to ensure that there are at least some controls on development in Castleknock village.
Green Party Dublin West representative, Roderic O’Gorman has expressed major disappointment at the vote by Fingal county councillors not to delete references to the controversial Castleknock Urban Centre Strategy from the Fingal Development Plan.
“I’m deeply disappointed to see that residents of Castleknock Village have been let down by the Council in its vote not to remove references to the highly controversial Castleknock Urban Centre Strategy (UCS) from the Fingal Development Plan. The UCS was imposed imposed on Castleknock by the Council management. As a direct result of this, the hugely unpopular 5 storey development behind the Flower Shop was given planning permission. In the run up to the local elections, all our local representatives were very vocal in saying they were going to stand up for Castleknock. Instead, the Council have now actually endorsed the use of the UCS in the new County Development Plan”, stated Roderic O’Gorman.
“The vote on the motion to delete the UCS was defeated very narrowly: 11 in favour – 12 against. Voting against were 5 Fine Gael councillors, 3 Fianna Fail councillors, 2 Labour councillors and 2 independents. Local Fine Gael councillor Eithne Loftus was the only member of Fine Gael to support the motion, even though Fine Gael representative had been very critical of the UCS. Local Fianna Fail councillor Mags Murray, bravely abstained, thus allowing the vote to be defeated”.
“Yet again we see Fingal County Council taking decisions that are completely opposed by residents. In the run up to the local elections in June 2009 and since, I have regularly been on the doors in Castleknock Village where there is near unanimous opposition to the Urban Centre Strategy. I hope Castleknock residents will remember the actions of the political parties and local councillors, next time they come around looking for votes”, concluded Roderic O’Gorman.
A link to the relevant FCC minutes can be found here. The vote on the Castleknock UCS is noted on page 44.
Green Party Dublin West representative, Roderic O’Gorman and a delegation from the Castleknock Residents Action Group (CRAG) met with the Minister for State for Planning, Ciaran Cuffe to discuss concerns about a large scale development in Castleknock Village.
“Last week I took a delegation from the Castleknock Residents Action Group (CRAG) to meet the Minister for State for Planning, Ciaran Cuffe. CRAG had requested this meeting in order to be able to discuss with Minister Cuffe their concerns about the large commercial and residential development in the centre of Castleknock Village behind the old Flower Shop. This development has met with massive resistance from residents of the village, but has been pushed strongly by Fingal County Council”, stated Roderic O’Gorman.
“Myself and the CRAG representative outlined to the Minister our concerns about how Fingal County Council drew up an Urban Centre Strategy for Castleknock, but never put the draft version out to public consultation and never permitted local councillors to officially vote on it. We also highlighted how the architects firm that drew up the UCS for the Council were also at the same time drawing up the planning application for the developer of the Flower Shop site”.
“While as a Minister in the Department of the Environment, Ciaran Cuffe cannot interfere with the grant of planning permission by a local authority or An Bord Pleanala, he did express his surprise at the manner in which this situation was handled and in particular, the way in which the views of the residents of Castleknock Village have been completely ignored. He asked myself and CRAG to supply him with more details of our concerns surrounding the process followed by Fingal County Council”.
“Going forward, it is absolutely essential that all references to this flawed Urban Centre Strategy are deleted from the current draft of the Fingal County Development Plan, so that it does not get statutory approval through the back door. Both myself and CRAG will be pressuring local councillors to make this vital amendment”, concluded Roderic O’Gorman.
Roderic O’Gorman: 087 417 9777
Green Party Dublin West representative, Roderic O’Gorman has called on residents of Castleknock Village to make their voices heard in the planning process regarding the newly submitted planning application to develop a site in the centre of the village.
“Last year the proposal by Uxbridge Properties to undertake a major development in the centre of Castleknock Village behind the Flower Shop generated huge concern. Along with hundreds of local residents, I submitted an objection to the proposal and I was delighted when the planning application was withdrawn in January of this year”, stated Roderic O’Gorman.
“During the Local Election campaign, concerns about the future of the site were raised with me by many local residents. I committed that if elected, I would use the County Development Plan to alter the zoning of the site to ensure that only suitable development would occur on the site”.
“Now however, a new planning application has been submitted which is similar in many ways to the original proposal. The new development would comprise of 3 new blocks between 2 and 5 stories high. These would include 47 one and two bed apartments, 15 commercial premises, a large anchor retail outlet and a medical centre. The proposal also includes an underground car park with 346 spaces”.
“It is really important that residents make submissions on this new proposal. I believe that this application will raise many of the same concerns that residents had with the previous one such as increased traffic congestion, and nearby houses being overlooked. The deadline for submissions is the 29th July”, concluded Roderic O’Gorman.
Roderic O’Gorman: 087 417 9777