Tuesday 23 July 2019

Former prison site may now provide houses

John Manning

Reports on Monday suggest that the former 'superprison' site at Thornton Hall in Kilsallaghan is to be offered for housing to the newly-formed Land Development Agency.

It is understood that the Prison Service, who still own the land, have offered the agency of the land and the 165-acre site could provide housing.

The Department of Justice confirmed that the offer had been made to the Land Development Agency and suggested that a small part of the site might be retained by the Department and its Prison Service for the development of a future smaller prison, alongside the housing.

It is known that Fingal County Council had been pursuing an employment-generating development for the site and was reluctant to pursue housing on the site.

However, this latest development could bypass the council in the initial stages and allow the Land Development Agency to pursue the project although it is likely a rezoning of the land would be needed for a residential development to go ahead on the site.

Ultimately, it will be for the planning authorities to rule on whether the site is suitable for housing and not the Department as was the case in the proposed development of a prison on the site, or indeed, the Land Development Agency.

That proposal was ultimately withdrawn in the face of local opposition, leaving the Government with a site that cost over €50 but housed little more than a prison horticultural project.

Fingal Independent