Read my submission to An Bord Pleanala here.
Residents in Celbridge are campaigning for changes to the proposed multi-storey apartment and housing complex being planned for opposite Croduan on the Maynooth road. I joined residents onsite today to support their campaign, in what was my third meeting on the matter this week.
While all involved acknowledge and support the need for housing, these developments are out of kilter with the surrounding estates. A number of tower blocks front the development in what was described by the Department of Housing as a “peripheral location”. There are also a number of technical issues, such as the cycle lane running against the main road rather than in an off-road linear park, which could easily be revised in the designs.
There are also significant traffic congestion issues in Celbridge already and the proposed entrance and exits to this development only aggravate that. In reality, development would be preferable for many reasons on the Hazelhatch end of town with enhanced links to the train station needed for old and new estates.
I welcome the plans for new housing and we badly need same but this proposal needs changes to make it work for everyone. It is also notable that this application comes under the “SHD” model which is being phased out by the new government programme, as it does not allow for community or even local authority consultation. I have lodged my submission to An Bord Pleanala.
Copy of my submission text also reproduced here for convenience:
The Strategic Housing Unit,
An Bord Pleanala,
64 Marlborough Street
Submission of James Lawless TD
Comprises 467 Housing Units; Creche; Cafe and Gym Located at Crodaun, Celbridge, Co. Kildare
I would be obliged for the following submissions be examined in relation to the SHD application 20/307100 in Celbridge, Co. Kildare.
- The proposal is made under the Strategic Housing Development framework. The Board will be aware this framework is to be discontinued with the Programme for Government, (provided that government proceeds this weekend). Given this admission that the framework has not worked and is to be stood down, it seems a reasonable proposition to conclude that applications should not in good faith continue to be submitted and/or processed under that framework in the interim period.
- I understand that signage for this development was erected during the height of the Covid19 lockdown epidemic. Given that the planning laws were essentially suspended in this time, given the difficulty in organising any sort of meaningful engagement or response from the community, this appears to have been an unnecessary provocation.
- I am aware that multiple similar applications (inter alia Castleknock, Howth, Drogheda, Finglas, Clane, Raheny, Goatstown, Blackrock and elsewhere) have been challenged and in many cases successfully overturned through Judicial Review. In light of points raised at paragraph one, I would exercise caution in the consideration of this application and suggest it may be more appropriate to await the subsequent planning framework.
- The proposal details a variety of housing units including four blocks of five and six story apartments located on the perimeter of this site. I along with residents would have several concerns on this and I would submit that I am seeking the deletion of the 4 five and six story apartment blocks.
~ These blocks are currently proposed to be situated (with underground car parks) along the boundary of the site on the R405. They are proposed to be directly opposite the bungalows and two storey houses within Crodaun Forest Park.
~ The height of these blocks is totally unsuitable for this suburban and semi-rural area. They will dominate the landscape and other housing units within the proposed site itself, and in the existing housing estates namely Crodaun Forest Park, Castle Village and the houses along and adjacent to Kilwogan Lane.
~ It will reduce light into the windows of the bungalows within Crodaun, impact negatively on sunlight and the heating of these houses especially those with solar panels and will impact on the quality of life of existing residents by the reduction in their privacy.
~ The current Celbridge Local Area Plan states that any development of this Key Development Area (KDA) should reflect the established pattern of development in the area and should protect the amenity of adjoining residential estates. I would submit that this proposed development in seeking to develop four large apartment blocks consisting of five and six stories breaches this pattern and should be deleted from the proposed development.
- I would like to further submit that I am seeking the deletion of the 4 five and six story apartment blocks for its negative impact on traffic flow.
~ It is proposed in the application to open two vehicle entrances and two pedestrian/cyclist entrances onto the R405 at and through the Apartment Blocks.
~ With a potential additional 700 plus motor vehicles which may be entering or leaving the development this provision of vehicular entrances onto the R405 will further exacerbate the traffic problems on the 80/100 metres of road between the Applegreen Roundabout and the traffic light junction at the Maxol Station (connecting the housing estates between the R405 and Shackleton Road including Castle Village, Ballygoran View, Thornhill Gardens, Castlewellan, Willowbrook) to the R405 (Celbridge -Maynooth Road). Traffic will also be exacerbated in facilitating traffic movement on the R405 from Celbridge Town Centre and the estates on the Shackleton Road to Maynooth, the schools beyond the Applegreen Roundabout and the M4. The additional entrances onto this road proposed (and the additional entrance on the opposite side at the proposed Ardstone development) will add to the traffic problems along this stretch.
- The additional traffic volumes will also make it much more difficult for traffic entering and leaving Crodaun Forest Park at the existing two entrances namely the Crodaun Phase 1 and Crodaun Phase 2 entrances. It should be noted that in their application Crodaun Development Company have not made any mention of or provision of date in respect of the Crodaun Phase 2 entrance.
~There are 227 houses on the phase 2 side of the Crodaun estate and this is their only vehicular exit onto the R405. The 69 houses factored into the application submitted for the Crodaun Development Company have their sole entrance onto the R405 from the phase 1 entrance for which the application only provided traffic data.
- I would also submit that the footpath and cycle lane along the R405 and the boundary of the proposed development is currently inadequate in lane size and width for the up to 1450 students who travel by foot or cycle to and from the Salesian College and Celbridge Community College daily during school terms. The provision of the proposed two vehicle entrances and the two pedestrian/cyclist entrances will present a very real health and safety risk given the volume and packed density of student traffic along this route.
- The provision of public transport options along the R405 is inadequate for the current level of public transport usage on the 67 Bus Routes from Maynooth/Celbridge into Dublin. While the yet to be guaranteed additional routes proposed by Bus Connects may be used by the development to justify their claim of being adjacent to public transport options, the reality that there is no dedicated bus lane, nor probability of , on this stretch of the R405, simply means that the existing and any future bus connections will compete for space and travel time with cars along this stretch.
~As the stretch of road concerned is already full or traffic at peak times, the commute times by bus will increase and the chances of bus users making cross connections on time with other bus and rail routes across Dublin will diminish.
~I would also submit that while there are Railway stations located at Hazelhatch, Celbridge, Maynooth Train Station and two stations in Leixlip (Louisa and Leixlip Confey stations), none are within walking distance from the proposed site in Crodaun. As a result, most traffic movements will be car based adding to the traffic problems identified above.
- I object to the removal of the existing hedgerows along the road frontage of the site with the R405. While the proposal offers to retain a proportion of these the reality given the need for line of sight required by the proposed entrances is that less than a third of the hedgerows will be retained. It is my understanding that the hedgerows within the site and along the boundary with the R405 and Kilwogan lane present a travel and flight route for bats and this will be disrupted given the significant removal of hedgerows within the site.
~ In my engagement with Celbridge residents on this issue I have learned about an unauthorised landfill close to the development site. It is my understanding that the landfill and its interaction with an adjacent bog is causing an increasing amount of land on the opposite side of Kilwogan Lane to subject to flooding. If this issue is not dealt with prior to the completion of any housing on these lands it could well mean that these lands, which I understand are flood prone, may well experience flooding.
~ In your considerations of this application I would ask that you consider this issue and the probable need to make any development subject to the resolution of this landfill issue.
~The stream that borders the boundary of the land on Kilwogan Lane is a protected EPA listed drinking water source providing drainage from the bog to the river Liffey. I would submit that any development on the proposed site must be required to put in place measures to prevent any pollution of this stream as a result of building activity and soil movement. There is presently local concern that the landfill contents are entering this stream and the drinking water supply provided through the Leixlip Water plant.
- I fully realise the urgent need for additional housing, I have made submissions to very specific elements of the current proposal because of the negative impact they will have. Housing development should be concerned not just with density but with the suitability of the development and its contribution to the growth of sustainable communities. The level of density in this development, expressed in the height of the apartment complexes proposed does not meet the benchmarks of sustainable and appropriate development.
- I am aware of the broader social, economic, educational, and transport infrastructure deficiencies faced by the community of Celbridge. The increase of population of towns like Celbridge should be phased and conditional upon the provision of increased infrastructure that can support the educational, social, childcare, employment, transport and leisure needs of the community. Phased development that is concerned with avoiding overloading on already challenged infrastructure is essential for community cohesion and wellbeing.
James Lawless TD