A Swords councillor has slammed a proposal to build a 278-apartment development at Fosterstown saying the proposal shows a 'blatant disregard' for Swords Masterplans agreed by councillors, last year.
Cllr Darragh Butler said the proposal which will be decided upon by An Bord Pleanála 'should be rejected and the developer should be told to come back with a plan that remains within the requirements of that Masterplan'.
In his submission to An Bord Pleanála on the application, Cllr Butler said: 'We need proper planning, proper resources and fair development in line with the Masterplan. The Swords Masterplans were agreed in May 2019 after extensive public consultation and agreements reached by Fingal County Council, residents and councillors. Allowing the SHD (Strategic Housing Development) process to be used in this way to breach a recently agreed Masterplan is an abuse of process and it should be rejected.'
The Swords Masterplans (Part C: Fosterstown) (May 2019) states: 'Residential development in the west Swords area has resulted in a shortage of school spaces for local children and has become an issue. A new primary school in Fosterstown will help support both the existing and new communities in this area.'
According to Cllr Butler: 'By this they mean the Forest Road area and this is our last chance for a new school on the Forest Road. There is no more land left after this Masterplan land is dealt with.
'Do we want be looking back in 10 and 20 years and reviewing how the SHD process decimated local communities and allowed over development without the necessary resources to be put in place?
'That is what is going to happen here and has happened in other areas already. This developer built circa 1,650 units at the other end of the Forest Road over the last two decades, without any new schools and we are struggling to deal with this problem and massive school shortages on the Forest Road (as a result of the development of the large Boroimhe and Ridgewood estates), without this problem going to be exasperated even further.
'This is our last chance to get this right and sort out the school shortage issue for the Forest Road area of Swords. This SHD attempts to paint a picture that it is connected to the rest of Swords. It is not, It will be part of the Forest Road area, tying into the existing under-resourced Forest Road and River Valley area in terms of schools and playing pitches.'
He added: 'No development on the Fosterstown lands should be allowed to proceed without the new school and associated playing fields (G.A.A. pitch and Soccer Pitch) being put in place.
'This is our last chance to get this right. There is no room for a new school anywhere else on the Forest Road and Fingal County Council will confirm this.
'We need a new primary school built on the Fosterstown lands before any development should be allowed to proceed.'
Cllr Butler says he is not anti-housing and accepts that the Fosterstown lands will have higher-density housing than elsewhere because of its proximity to the future MetroLink line but he says that transport project needs to be further down the line before these densities can be allowed.
He said: 'These high densities should not go ahead without the MetroLink project having been fully signed off and commissioned.
'High densities are the trade-off for Metro Link, so the high densities should not proceed without MetroLink, for which the time-table has again slipped and we will be lucky to have MetroLink in place by the end of this decade.
'The heights and densities are being manipulated and are vastly in excess of what was agreed as part of the Fingal County Council Masterplans. There are not enough parking spaces as part of this development, which will ensure over-flow parking in neighbouring roads and estates.'
He concluded: 'This Strategic Housing Development application must be rejected and the Developer should be told to come back with a planning application that is in keeping with the Swords Masterplan agreed in 2019.
'Allowing this SHD to proceed as is will have major long-term negative consequences for existing and the new residents that this development will bring.
'We will not be able to retrospectively deal with the lack of vital community infrastructure ignored by this SHD because if this is not addressed as part of the Fosterstown lands it will never be addressed as there is simply no more land available for this.'