Greystones development gets go-ahead

Thu, Aug 9, 2007, 01:00

Plan for the controversial Greystones development.
Plan for the controversial Greystones development.

Planning authorities have given the go-ahead to a €300 million marina and housing development in Greystones, Co Wicklow.

In a decision published today An Bord Pleanála imposed 13 conditions on the controversial development.

The proposal had the support of Wicklow County Council, but protesters collected 10,000 signatures against the plan earlier this year.

The development is to include an integrated marina/harbour, a coastal public park, mixed residential and commercial developments and social and civic amenities.

It will be centred around the around the harbour and marina at Rathdown Upper and Rathdown Lower/Greystones harbour and North Beach, Greystones.

An Bord Pleanála considered various factors, including the condition of the harbour and the location of the site relative to the town. It says the existing character of the site was considered as were any modifications to the scale and layout of the proposed development received by the board in October last year.

Among the conditions are the redesign of points of access to the site from the Beach Road/Cliff Road. Traffic-calming measures are to be set up before work starts within a 200 metre radius of Victoria Road/Beach Road.

Other Bord Pleanála stipulations include the retention of public access to the Cliff Walk during the development period and strict guidelines for contractors in terms of dust suppression, reuse of demolition materials, the hours of operation and noise levels.

Sea kale on site will be relocated to a position agreed with the local authority in the interests of maintaining the local species.

An Bord Pleanála has also stipulated that the local authority will establish a locally based liaison committee to provide information to the local community.

An archaeology survey will be carried out before any work occurs at Darcy's Field - the site of the batching and casting plants.

Should any archaeological finds of note be discovered there, the artifacts will remain in situ unless otherwise decided by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government.

Speaking to ireland.comtoday, Evelyn Cawley, public relations officer with the Greystones Protection and Development Association, said she was very disappointed by the decision and felt the conditions attached to the development were insignificant.

"We would say that our work over the last two years in opposing the development has influenced the outcome in impacting on the size of the development but not significantly enough in our opinion," she said.

"A much bigger reduction is required because the size, scale and character of the development is really out of keeping with Greystones harbour. The scale and size of the development requires a large greenfield site. Being confined by the geography of the area, the development is going to cause major knock-on effects in terms of traffic congestion in the future."

Ms Cawley said that another major concern for residents was the use of the foreshore.

"Wicklow County Council have asked the Department of Finance to gift 37 acres of the  to the developers Sispar to make it work financially . . . they're getting it for nothing and therefore it makes the development financially viable. We are also concerned that this is a precedent that will be set for the rest of the country, particularly for Dublin Bay, which is ripe for development."

Ms Cawley, ran in the general election and secured more than 2,000 first-preference votes, also expressed concern about the impact of the development on coastal erosion in the area.

But Sean Quirke of Wicklow County Council said that the council had responded well to the challenge to revise the scheme.

He said that the 36 acres of foreshore that had been obtained by compulsory purchase order was not all intended for development and said much of it would remain under water or would be used for the construction of breakwaters.