Minister overrides Sallins Area Plan

The Minister for Planning and Housing, Simon Coveney TD, has rejected the considered opinion of all 9 Councillors in the Naas electoral area, along with over 2,000 supporting submissions from the Sallins community to reject the amenity option in the local area plan. The Sallins Local Area Plan had contained a provision to zone 40 acres of land at Bodenstown as Amenity along with 30 for housing, the package also included a site for a second school and common use playing fields and community centre. I actively supported this when I was on the council, in fact as Mayor I formally proposed it, and chaired the meetings where it was voted through over the course of the last year.

Coveney refuses Sallins amenities

The County Manager and now the Minister opposed this proposal from the start as their argument was about over-zoning. Everybody in Sallins understands the problems of over-zoning as we are living through it. Sallins went from 500 to 5,000 people in the last fifteen years with no accompanying increase in leisure amenities.

This plan offered a concrete proposal to actually deliver lands for those amenities and enjoyed massive local support. All parties and all Councillors supported it as well as the overwhelming majority of local residents and for the Minister to ignore this reality and strike it down is really riding roughshod over the clearly expressed will of the people in the area affected.

Here is the Minister’s Directive Letter and the Community_Facilities letter that came with it.

It is worth noting the Scout Den is still being delivered and the playground is still underway. The Bodenstown lands were easily the biggest block of zoning in this plan but those smaller parcels are still going ahead so at least some amenities got through.

You can see some of my previous posts on it here.

 

More Jobs for Naas as Applegreen Site Given Go Ahead

Applegreen will develop the former Concrete Pipes site at entrance to Naas.

Applegreen will develop the former Concrete Pipes site at entrance to Naas.

Kildare County Council last night approved an application from Applegreen and associates to develop the old concrete pipes site at the entrance to Naas to become a new service station, training centre, office space and national headquarters. This is great news which see more jobs coming into the area.

This site had become derelict in recent times and was a black spot at the entrance to our county town. I repeatedly called for action at this site when on the council and I supported this application when it was lodged. The new facility is expected to produce up to 400 new jobs and is very welcome for the town and area.

It is welcomed news that another large organisation such as Applegreen has chosen to invest in Naas following on from the opening of Meadows and Byrne in the town. I look forward to working with other businesses to assist them in opening and growing in Naas and the surrounding areas.

Sallins Area Plan – Support for Amenity Lands

Sallins_Harbour

Mock Image of Sallins Harbour with Boardwalks

The Sallins Local Area Plan has almost concluded its rounds of consideration in the council and has been sent to the Minister for final sign-off. As expected the Minister has raised a concern over Alteration 20 relating to the additional residential zoning on the Bodenstown road. However the key piece of this jigsaw is the 40 acres of Amenity land that come with it. This was supported by all Councillors unanimously when the plan was going through as the community gain behind this proposal will allow for development of multiple playing pitches, running track, a new community building for all the different groups in the village. It will bridge the gap which has long existed of over development without any facilities in the village to go with it. The Minister has invited submissions on the Alteration before he makes a ruling and I include my submission here.

Maiden Speech on Housing in 32nd Dáil

I gave my “maiden speech” in the Dáil last week, in what was the second day of sitting of the 32nd Dáil. My first speech was a contribution to the debate on Housing and Homelessness.


In summary the points I raised are as follows;
-Need for a restart of social housing building programme(currently 19,000 individuals on Kildare housing list).
-Review of rent allowance to combat the rising rental costs.
-Review of the Central Bank Mortgage deposit rules.
-Derelict sites refurbished and brought back into circulation.
-Rates initiative for living above shops (to bring more buildings into use for accommodation and knock on positive affects for our main streets).
-Account of consistent rental payments given more credibility when looking for a deposit for a home.

The full text of my speech is below:
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Policy Priorities

James Lawless NaasHere are some of my main policy priorities I would pursue if elected to Dáil Éireann. I’ve been outspoken on these issues over the years, however, there is only a limited amount I can achieve as a local community activist and county councillor. Most of these issues need to be addressed at national level.

Kick starting investment in infrastructure

While critical infrastructural projects like the Sallins bypass and M7 widening to 3 lanes are continually stalled, costing commuters valuable time and communities frustration through traffic delays, a voice at national level is needed to secure funding. If elected I will continually put forward the case for these projects until we see work underway.

Policing & crime prevention

Over the years I have worked with local groups setting up text alerts and community clinics in the wake of Garda station closures, however, the fact remains that Kildare now has the lowest number of Gardaí per capita of any county in Ireland, and absolutely no community Gardaí at all, and this can be tackled only at national level.

Local services

When I raised the scandal that many estates not taken in charge were not receiving local services, despite being levied with the full property tax, the reality was that only national legislation can address this – and the many other unfair aspects of the local property tax system.

Housing crisis

The housing crisis is obvious at every clinic I hold as so many people struggle to find a place to call home. Yet Kildare County Council can only build houses if the government provides funding, and so far it is all just talk from Ministers. This country always had a strong social housing policy under previous governments, however, in recent years we’ve gone backwards on this serious issue.

Investment & job creation

Despite the critical importance of inward investment and attracting employers, across all of County Kildare we received just a single IDA visit in 2014, almost the lowest in the country. This must change if we are to create new jobs in Co. Kildare. I will support and pursue investment and job creation initiatives and try my best to ensure that Kildare isn’t lagging behind as the economy grows.

Public transport

As a commuter myself and as spokesperson for the Naas and Sallins Rail Users Group, I am a long standing advocate for better train and bus services. I believe we must invest to ensure our public transport and motorways can handle capacity as the economy recovers.