Wednesday 21 March 2018

500 homes in Dublin city opposed over 'concerns for geese'

Owen Keegan
Owen Keegan
Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

DUBLIN City Council chief executive Owen Keegan has recommended that the planning appeals board refuses an application for the development of 500 homes in Dublin.

Planning permission for the Crekav Trading-led project at St Paul’s College in Raheny, adjacent to St Anne’s Park, on Dublin’s northside is now in serious doubt, the Irish Independent can reveal.

It has already faced strong opposition from locals who say it would mean the loss of sports pitches used by local clubs. Objectors have also argued the park is one of the few green spaces in the area of the city. 

Despite Dublin’s housing crisis, in his submission to An Bord Pleanála (ABP), which is due to make a decision next month, Mr Keegan said the application did not comply with the current zoning of the land for institutional use.

“The proposed development is not considered to be consistent with the Dublin Development Plan 2016-2022 and with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area,” he said. 

Running to 28 pages, the document considered the development’s impact on the environment, traffic and amenity to the area. 

It listed almost 180 individual key planning issues raised in observations submitted on the application. 

These ranged from procedural issues, such as drawings of the plan missing from ABP’s website, to the ejection of Clontarf FC from the grounds.   

A special mention was made of An Taisce’s observation that the impact on the Brent geese population has not been adequately addressed. 

The St Paul’s lands are regarded as the most important site in the Dublin area, outside of their natural habitat, for this protected species.

A total of 1,100 observations have so far been made on the application. Mr Keegan’s report was not opposed in principle to the development of a high density residential development on part of the St Paul’s land, “subject to the satisfactory resolution of the zoning objective and biodiversity issues”. 

The report has been hailed as a victory for protesters against the development. 

It came after they secured 3,000 signatures on a petition to Mr Keegan to make a submission that reflected the opposition to the plan. 

Labour Party senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, who has helped spearhead local resistance, said the submission made it very hard for ABP to grant permission.

“I’m not surprised that he has done that, but I am encouraged,” he said.

The developer submitted the application under a fast-track planning scheme, which meant it went straight to ABP, rather than through the local council. 

“Because of what Owen Keegan has done, it shows that if this application had gone through Dublin City Council (DCC), it wouldn’t have got permission.” 

Mr Ó Ríordáin said it was “a very positive move” and locals were delighted with Mr Keegan’s position. 

Crekav Trading says it intends to replace the pitches on the land with a gym and two outdoor, all-weather pitches.

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