Plans to upgrade Killiney heritage area dropped

Tue, Feb 26, 2013, 00:00

Plans to upgrade paths and access to a proposed natural heritage area in Killiney, Dublin, are to be dropped following 50 submissions to the local authority.

Half the submissions received by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council on a plan to manage Roche’s Hill said the council would be better off spending the money elsewhere.

The majority opposed widening pathways through the protected area and introducing a metal gate.

Both proposals are to be dropped as a result, along with a plan to mark the boundary between the council’s 21 acres on the hill and three acres owned by Killiney Golf Club. Plans to conserve plant and wildlife on the hill will go ahead.

Roche’s Hill, southwest of the better-known Killiney Hill, is bounded by housing to the north and east and Killiney Golf Course to the west and south. The majority of the hill is owned and managed by the council, and the golf club’s three acres run along the western edge.

Planning enforcement

The club was the subject of planning enforcement recently after it cleared some vegetation in the area to improve drainage. The council said the works were “of such a substantial nature” they required planning permission.

The hill is dominated by gorse but also includes rare plants such as climbing corydalis.

The lower grassland area includes a large population of native bluebells and the woodland contains trees such as sycamore, ash, hawthorn, elder and holly. The hill is also home to protected species such as badgers, bats and the common lizard.

The five-year management plan will attempt to conserve the habitats and species in the area through measures such as controlling gorse and bracken.

In a report to councillors to be discussed at a meeting last night, county manager Owen Keegan said submissions had emphasised the importance of the natural, unspoilt appearance of the site and its “wilderness” character.

Widening the walking trails would ruin the wildness aspect and reduce cover for wildlife, the submissions said.

Way markers

Mr Keegan also said the use of way markers to delineate the boundary between council and golf club land had been suggested as an alternative to a fence, and would help ensure staff did not “unwittingly” carry out work on golf club lands.

But in view of suggestions that this would “detract from the natural character of the area”, the parks department would instead identify natural features to highlight land boundaries for staff.