Wednesday 21 March 2018

Bray Local Area Plan will come before Wicklow County Council on Monday

Cllr Joe Behan
Cllr Joe Behan

The Bray Local Area Plan will come before the full council on Monday, the first time in history that the development of Bray and its environs will be decided by the 32 members of Wicklow County Council.

Cllr Joe Behan has accused the CEO and planners of ignoring the views of the people of Bray regarding the future development of the district.

'Despite thousands of public submissions on various aspects of the plan, the council management want to proceed to allow building on the Dargle River flood plain and across the higher slopes of the Little Sugarloaf,' said Cllr Behan.

He believes that the proposed plan doesn't allow for sufficient public and sporting open space at Old Fassaroe lands.

'The planners also want to proceed with allowing housing at the rear of Charnwood and Giltspur Wood, which could allow the breaking through of cul-de-sacs in both estates,' he said.

'I believe it is vital the views of the people of the district are supported by all councillors at the meeting next Monday,' said Cllr Behan.

Little Bray local community group, SWAP (Safety with Alternative Plan), have been fighting since 2005 to have high density development planned for the 3.5 ha corridor of land alongside the river Dargle stepped back onto the high ground. Their homes are located upriver from the proposed development.

Map No. 16 in the present (2011) Development Plan for the town shows Flood Zone A, the highest category of flood risk, covering the 50-60m wide corridor of lowland adjacent to the river. In the equivalent map - SFRA 2(a) - of the 2017 Draft Plan, however, the Council's executive have extended Flood Zone A up onto the high ground, so that almost two-thirds of the 17 ha site, now in receivership, is shown as at great risk of flooding.

SWAP believes that the extension of Flood Zone A to cover most of the Golf Club lands site is an attempt to get around the Justification Test, a stringent set of planning guidelines that apply if permission is sought to build on a floodplain. Its two main criteria are that the land in question must be essential to the growth and development of the town, and that there must be no alternative site.

'The floodplain shown in the 2011 Development Plan is too small (3.5 ha) to be essential to the town, and there is a clear alternative - build on the high ground,' they said in a statement. 'If, however, the extended Flood Zone A is accepted, the site passes the Justification Test because of the much larger area involved.'

SWAP representatives have met Wicklow County councillors over the past three months in a series of information evenings on flooding, flood defences, and floodplains

Wicklow People