Tag Archive for 'Planning'

More evidence why we need independent inquiries into planning practices

A few weeks ago I posted about my concerns regarding the decision of the Government to scrap independent investigations into planning practices that had been initiated by John Gormley when he was Environment Minister. The new minister, Phil Hogan, has replaced these with in-house investigations – basically civil servants investigating other civil servants.

Today, RTE reports on another example of gross mismanagement of planning by a local authority – this time Meath County Council. Following a High Court judgment last year, where the Council was forced to pay a property owner €4.5 million, an investigation of the Council reveals there was virtually no oversight in the planning department and further, there was a lack of basic competence.  It’s ironic that at the same time that the problems in local authorities are being disclosed, the Government wants to hush up the practices in other county councils, by having in-house investigations rather than an independent inquiry.

Continue reading ‘More evidence why we need independent inquiries into planning practices’

Press Release – O’Gorman calls for Blanchardstown residents to get involved in Village Development Strategy

Roderic O'Gorman at River Tolka, Blanchardstown

Roderic O'Gorman at River Tolka, Blanchardstown

16/02/09

Green Party Castleknock ward candidate, Roderic O’Gorman has welcomed Fingal County Council’s call for public submissions regarding the proposed Blanchardstown Village Development Strategy and has urged residents of the village to get involved in the process.

“I’m very pleased to see the Fingal County Council has taken out ads in local papers, calling on residents of Blanchardstown to make submissions on the ‘Village Development Strategy’ it is drawing up. While we have seen extensive development of the Blanchardstown Town Center over the last few years, the Village itself has been neglected to a certain extent. It’s good to see the Council is now devising a plan which I hope will lead to the regeneration of the village, but also the preservation of its character”, stated Roderic O’Gorman.

“Some of the key aspects the Council is focusing on include the creation of safe pedestrian and cycle routes, gaining maximum benefit from the Tolka river and also protecting the historical features of the village”.

“Since the Development Strategy will be addressing the issue of ‘infill’ sites in the village, I think that those making submissions should include their views on what is the appropriate height of buildings in a village setting. Some of the land in the village could in the future be used for high-rise offices or apartments. If residents want to ensure this does not happen, they must make their views clear in their submission”.

“I think the Development Strategy should also examine whether there is space to provide more facilities for young people. In particular, I would like to see the Council investigate the possibility of create a Youth Café within the village”, concluded Roderic O’Gorman.

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Further Information
Roderic O’Gorman: 087 417 9777
High resolution pictures of Roderic are available at:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/rodericogorman/

Press Release – ‘Swords-centred’ approach to planning in Fingal has to end – O’Gorman

18/01/09

Green Party Castleknock ward candidate, Roderic O’Gorman has welcomed reports in a local newspaper that work on a ‘framework for future development’ in Blanchardstown Village is being started. He also highlighted what he believes up to now has been a ‘Swords-centred’ approach to prioritizing planning in Fingal.

“The response to a recent question put on my behalf to the County Manger reveals that Fingal County Council has spent €830,000 on consultants engaged in work on the Metro North and the linked new Local Area Plan for the Swords area. At the same time, only €47,180 has been spent on consultants working on the Metro West”.

“While I understand that the Metro North project was listed under Transport 21 as to be undertaken first, when you compare the two figures regarding what has been spent on planning for Swords and what has been spent on Blanchardstown, they do seem to be extremely imbalanced. I think this imbalance shows a ‘Swords-centred’ approach to planning, with the promotion of the Council managements vision of a ‘city’ in Swords getting priority over much needed planning in other areas, particularly Dublin 15”, stated Roderic O’Gorman.

“The money spent promoting Metro West is 5 ½ % the figure spent promoting Metro North. Looking at that figure, can we really feel that up to now the Council has been committed to supporting public transport in Dublin 15 to the same degree that it is supporting it in the Swords area? Perhaps this is a legacy of the insufficient number of councillors that the Dublin 15 wards of Fingal County Council currently have, which leads to us being underrepresented compared to other parts of the local authority?”.

“In light of this imbalance, I warmly welcome the fact that work is now commencing on a ‘framework for future development’ in Blanchardstown Village. While we have seen major development around the Blanchardstown Town Centre over the last 7 years, Blanchardstown Village has for the most part not experienced significant building”.

“As a resident of Blanchardstown Vllage, I think it is vital that we do not allow overdevelopment and excessive high rise. It’s appropriate to have tall buildings in a modern setting such as around the Town Centre, but the new plan for Blanchardstown must protect and respect its character as a village. At the same time, there is the need for enhanced community facilities in the village. In particular, I believe we should be looking to provide a venue for young people to use for social purposes – such as a youth cafe”, concluded Roderic O’Gorman.

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Further Information
Roderic O’Gorman: 087 417 9777
High resolution pictures of Roderic are available at:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/rodericogorman/

Question Submitted to Fingal CC on behalf of Roderic O’Gorman

FINGAL COUNTY COUNCIL

8TH DECEMBER, 2008

ITEM NO. 8

CONSULTANTS

Question: Councillor D. Healy
“To ask the Manager how much has been spent by Fingal County Council on outside consultants in relation to the following projects;
(i) Metro North
(ii) Metro West
(iii) Public transport provision in North Fringe/South Fringe area?”

REPLY:

Metro North/Swords LAP
The sum of £830.000 has been paid to Consultants in respect of studies carried out in relation to both Metro North and the Swords Local Area Plan. It is not possible to separate costs solely for Metro North as both issues are interlinked.

Metro West

The sum of €47,184.98 has been expended to date on this project on external consultancy.

Public transport provision in North Fringe/South Fringe area

The provision of public transport within Fingal is a matter for the service providers such as Bus Eireann, Dublin Bus and Iarnrod Eireann. Fingal County Council, however, facilitates the provision of these services by providing Quality Bus Corridors. Consulting engineering design costs arising from this work amount to €545,000. Other QBC’s have been provided in the area of the Malahide Road. These projects are the responsibility of Dublin City Council.

Castleknock Village Development: Additional Information received

Uxbridge Properties have submitted ‘additional information’ to Fingal CC about their proposed development on the lands behind ‘The Flower Shop’ in the centre of Castleknock Village – Application F08A/0892.

The additional information deals with the 11 areas where Fingal CC were seeking clarification from the developer. Among the points the developer has:

– Set back the upper floors of a number of the blocks
– Submitted a report on the impact of overshadowing on surrounding properties
– Submitted a report on drainage and storm water management on the site
– Improved the number of trees that will be planted around the site

However, the developer has made it clear that he will not reduce the large number of car-parking spaces (345) currently provided for under the planning application.

The deadline for making submissions on this additional information is close of business on Monday 26th January

Good decision by An Bord Pleanala regarding transport infrastructure

Green Party Castleknock ward candidate, Roderic O’Gorman, has welcomed a recent decision by An Board Pleanala to overturn the grant of planning permission for a major development in the Blanchardstown Centre until such time as adequate public transport, in the form of the Metro West, has been provided.

I was delighted to see a really significant planning decision by An Bord Pleanala last week.

Planning permission for a significant development in the Blanchardstown Centre was overturned on the basis that it should not go ahead until the Metro West has been delivered. This is really important because over the last 15 years, we have seen huge development in Dublin 15, much of it based on the argument that public transport links will eventually follow. As residents of the area know all too well, this hasn’t happened and we have been left with major traffic congestion right across Dublin 15.

I think it is vital that An Bord Pleanala is putting a marker down that before major developments happen in Dublin 15 in future, the necessary transport infrastructure has be in place first.

The proposed development which was rejected was an eight-storey mixed use retail and commercial development on a site currently being used as an overflow car park adjacent to West End Retail Park, Westpoint Fitness Centre and opposite the Red Mall extension of the Town Centre.

It’s a pity that Fingal County Council didn’t take the same approach in relation to incorporating transport when it was considering the Kellystown Rezoning. At the time the rezoning was being voted upon, the Green Party councillors submitted a motion saying that no residential building would take place until either the Metro West was operational or the electrification of the Maynooth line had taken place. However, the Council management opposed this sensible condition and it was voted down by the Fianna Fail and Fine Gael councillors.

For too long, Fingal County Council has granted planning permission without adequately considering the transport needs. I hope that this decision from An Bord Pleanala will give guidance to Fingal County Council in its future decisions.

Press Release – O’Gorman welcomes Fingal CC call for changes to Castleknock Village development

15/09/08

Green Party Castleknock ward candidate, Roderic O’Gorman has welcomed the call from Fingal County Council for changes to be made to a proposed major development in the centre of Castleknock Village. He was speaking after Fingal County Council asked the developers to submit additional information about the project, including a request that that height of the development be reduced to two storeys in a number of locations.

“I’m delighted to see that Fingal County Council has responded to the concerns myself and many local residents raised in our objections to the original planning application which included proposals for 4 storey buildings. The Council has recently written to the developer looking for extra information on the project and as part of this it is recommending that sections of three of the proposed blocks be reduced to 2 storey’s”, stated Roderic O’Gorman.

“The Council is paying further attention to the concerns of local residents by its request that a daylight and shadow projection diagram be submitted to ascertain if existing residences will be affected by overshadowing. Tall building can have a major impact on the amount of light that surrounding residences receive and it is vital that this aspect of the development is fully clarified”.

“Further, the Council is requesting more information about drainage and stormwater management at the site. In light of the recent severe flooding that has been seen over-developed areas of Dublin, this is vital to ensure that the development does not result in localised flooding in Castleknock”.

“When the planning application for this site was submitted, I welcomed certain aspects of it, such as the extra civic space that is incorporated within it. While I see the request for additional information from Fingal as a positive development – particularly the recommendation to reduce building heights – there are still aspects of the proposal that have not been addressed sufficiently. In particular, I am concerned about to the excessive number of car parking spaces proposed and the lack of family friendly, 3 bedroom homes in the scheme. I look forward to Fingal County Council comprehensively dealing with these issues when they make their final decision”, 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 – 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