Rezoning of Dublin city lands for up to 3,500 homes is delayed by council

Dublin City Council reacts following objections from local residents to the plans

The rezoning of old industrial lands across Dublin for up to 3,500 homes has been delayed by Dublin city councillors. File photograph: David Davies/PA Wire

The rezoning of old industrial lands across Dublin for up to 3,500 homes has been delayed by Dublin city councillors. File photograph: David Davies/PA Wire

 

The rezoning of old industrial lands across Dublin for up to 3,500 homes has been delayed by Dublin city councillors, following objections from local residents to the plans.

The council’s planning department had sought approval to rezone 20 sites in the city, totalling 55 hectares, from industrial to residential or mixed use.

The previous council had asked the planning department to assess the industrial lands in the city and see which might be suitable for housing. For most of the 20 sites targeted, industrial zoning is obsolete and does not reflect the current use of the land, or the surrounding lands, city planner John O’Hara has said.

The sites are spread across the city, with a concentration in the southwest and northeast. Lands include the Mornington Business Park, a 1-hectare site off the Malahide Road in Artane that is bounded on all sides by residential development; a vacant site measuring just 0.16 hectares on Ballyfermot Road Lower, that was previously a coal yard, and a 0.2-hectare site on Esmond Avenue, Fairview, which is used as a builder’s yard but could be suitable for housing.

More than 280 organisations, residents’ associations and individuals made submissions to the council earlier this year on the proposed rezonings.

While State bodies and private organisations were generally supportive of the moves, large numbers of residents and residents’ groups opposed the plans for their local areas. Chief among their concerns was that there was already “too much” housing in their locality and transport services and schools would be unable to cope with increased populations. Other concerns included the uncertainty about the type of homes that would be built, including a fear of tall apartment blocks.

Several councillors said they could not support the rezonings because they did not know what sort of housing would be built on the lands, with a particular concern that tall apartments and co-living blocks would be built.

Lack of oversight

Cllr Catherine Stocker of the Social Democrats said her party could not support the rezoning of land with “no guarantee it will not be used for co-housing”, as there would be “no oversight whatsoever on what we will be giving the green light to”.

Cllr Mícheál Mac Donncha of Sinn Féin said the rezoning was being proposed “within a deeply flawed planning and zoning system”.

Cllr Pat Dunne, an Independent, said the councillors were “being asked to buy a pig in a poke”, while Labour’s Alison Gilliland raised concerns about the “eradication of local employment opportunities”.

Fianna Fáil councillor Racheal Batten said the planned rezonings did not show “real consideration of the residents of Dublin”.

Mr O’Hara said employment uses could continue on the lands despite rezoning. Councillors have agreed to have a separate meeting on the issue next week.

Separately, the councillors have voted to seek leave to take a judicial review of An Bord Pleanála’s decision to grant permission for more than 650 apartments in blocks up to nine storeys tall beside St Anne’s Park in Raheny, Dublin.

An Bord Pleanála last month approved the development by Crekav, a subsidiary of developer Pat Crean’s Marlet Property Group, of 657 apartments along with almost 500 parking spaces on former playing fields east of St Paul’s College beside the park, despite opposition from Dublin City Council and locals.