Adamstown on the map as information centre opens


StrategicDevelopmentZones: Plans for a new town in a Strategic Development Zone (SDZ) in west Dublin are now on view. Kate McMorrow reports.

A visitor centre has opened in Finnstown shopping centre in Lucan, where a model and videos of the 500-acre Adamstown project are on display.

This is the first scheme in the country to implement the Government's Strategic Development Zone (SDZ) initiative, providing an eventual 10,000 units for a population of up to 25,000 residents.

Cora Dixon is handling enquiries on behalf of Castlethorn Construction, one of three developers responsible for constructing this massive project. An entire town is about to spring up on the southern fringes of Lucan, planned in meticulous detail.

The location is off the Newcastle Road, just past Finnstown House Hotel and about 14 kms from the city centre.

Residents in estates surrounding Adamstown are anxious about the impact such a large scheme will have on their quiet locality. Cora Dixon was able to reassure a small boy from Finnstown Close who watches owls roosting in a big tree across the road from his bedroom window that it will be preserved when Adamstown gets under way in earnest in the new year.

Drawn up by the county council, the master plan has gone through the rigours of An Bord Pleanála, local representatives and a public forum, then modified to suit community needs.

Three primary schools, a secondary school, crèche places for 1,400, shopping centres, a leisure club with swimming pool and a train station are planned for the huge Adamstown scheme. An outer ring road will link Adamstown with the N4 and N7, and two bus corridors will be created.

Three developers - Castlethorn, Maplewood Homes and Tierra (a family firm headed by John McGreevey) - are sharing the construction of this new town. Their joint venture company, Chartridge, will co-ordinate the delivery of infrastructure in conjunction with South Dublin County Council.

Rigid guidelines are laid down and infrastructure must keep pace with each phase. Schools, roads and recreational facilities will slot into place as phases come on-stream. Permission to begin a new phase will be withheld until the infrastructure is provided for the previous phase.

Everything has been thought through. A dedicated works road will route construction traffic away from areas where people have moved in. Truck wheels will be hosed down after each delivery, so as not to carry muck through settled areas.

The first launch of houses and apartments is expected in autumn 2005. Architects O'Mahony Pike and Fenton Simons are responsible for design in the initial phase. Gunne New Homes will handle sales in phase one on behalf of Castlethorn and Hamilton Osborne King will sell in the next phase.

To encourage a community atmosphere, there will be an assortment of one and two-bedroom apartments in low-rise blocks, suitable for first-time buyers. Larger apartments, duplexes and houses will be aimed at families trading up.

Prices will cater for most budgets. Shops will be near schools and no house or apartment will be further than five minutes' walk from a pint of milk or loaf of bread.

The commercial aspect will include shops, a supermarket, cafés, offices and an enterprise centre. A district community centre, library and probably a cinema are part of the overall scheme.

Emphasis on landscaping is considerable and a competition will decide the best design for 70 acres of parkland - 15 times the size of Croke Park. Each section of the development will have its own park in addition to local pocket parks, with tennis and hardball courts and football pitches in the largest one.

Planning for the design of the new train station is with the county council and discussions are under way with Iarnród Éireann about providing a commuter service. Consultations with the Department of Education on the provision of primary and secondary schools are also progressing.

Residents will come out of the station to a broad boulevard linking with the largest of three parks.

Infrastructure keeping pace with housing construction is the key to the success of Adamstown, says Castlethorn's project manager, Jude Byrne, who is currently supervising ground clearance and excavation on the huge site.

"We are keen to ensure the infrastructure is in place sooner rather than later, even ahead of construction. It's an excellent formula and the onus is on the Government and local authority to make it work."