Protesters bemoan ‘traffic chaos’ in Santry, insisting it will only get worse with further high-rise builds
A MOCK funeral procession was held in Santry over the weekend to highlight residents’ objections to what they claim is “an excessive concentration” of high-rise developments in the area.
More than 60 protesters marched from the flyover at Whitehall to St Pappin’s church in Santry village, calling for a reduction in the height of proposed apartment complexes. The symbolic procession was led by a piper, with some residents carrying a coffin to represent “the demise of Santry”.
Santry Whitehall Forum said the event had been organised in response to the proliferation of several high-rise developments in the area. The residents’ group has engaged the services of its own town planner, but believes the onus should be on Dublin City Council to draw up a Local Area Plan.
Louise Lowry, vice-chair of the group, told Independent.ie that existing and proposed apartment schemes would result in more than 1,000 new units in the Santry area, with the increased population putting extra pressure on public transport, schools, youth facilities and local health services.
“We don’t have a problem with new homes being provided but there is just so much development going on in a concentrated area stretching from Omni Park Shopping Centre to Santry Avenue,” she said. “At the very least, we want to see apartments restricted in height to between five and seven storeys – similar to the ones already completed at the former Swiss Cottage site and at Santry Place – rather than 14-storey buildings.
“We have no Luas or Dart service in the area and the metro is just a vision in the sky at this stage. The buses that serve Santry originate in Swords and are packed by the time they get here.
“The extra apartments are also going to add to existing traffic chaos in the area. You can’t build all these extra homes without first providing basic social infrastructure, such as schools and GP services, which are already stretched to the limit.”
An attempt by residents to take judicial review proceedings against plans for an apartment and hotel complex at Omni Park was unsuccessful last year. They now fear that An Bord Pleanála is likely to grant planning permission for a separate 14-storey Strategic Housing Development (SHD) on the site of a builders’ providers on Santry Avenue.
“That decision is due shortly and we fully expect it to go through,” Ms Lowry said. “The reality is that we don’t have the manpower or the funds to fight these developments.”
She added that SHDs were “anti-democratic” due to the prohibitive costs involved in legally challenging decisions made under the fast-track process.
Social Democrats TD Róisín Shortall, who attended the protest, claimed Santry had been “badly affected by the Government’s poor planning laws” and believed SHDs had lowered the standard of apartments while increasing heights.
“This has happened without regard for existing residents and without any additional services or infrastructure,” she said. “Local people are understandably very angry about the impact on their community. We need a Local Area Plan, with public involvement, to ensure a vibrant and sustainable community for all residents.”