Plans for a new south Dublin town of more than 8,400 homes, for a population exceeding 21,000, have been appealed to An Bord Pleanála.
Approximately 280 hectares of land at Clonburris, to the east of Adamstown either side of the Dublin-Kildare railway line, has been designated a strategic development zone (SDZ) to tackle the capital's housing crisis by providing homes using "fast-track" planning.
Plans for the new town just over 10km from the city centre were approved late last month by South Dublin County Council. However, the outgoing mayor of the council Independent councillor Paul Gogarty has appealed the plans to An Bord Pleanála, with further appeals to the board expected ahead of today's deadline.
The board can choose to overturn, amend or pass the SDZ planning scheme, but if the SDZ is eventually approved the council will be able to grant permission for developments which cannot afterwards be appealed to the board. This could allow construction of homes to start two months after an application is made.
Cairn Homes, the largest private landowner in Clonburris, last year said it could provide homes costing less than €300,000, and would be in a position to start construction straight away. Under the current plans almost a third of the 8,473 homes across the whole site will be used for social or affordable housing.
However, Mr Gogarty, a former Green Party TD, said the plan was weak and would result in unsustainable housing sprawl in a part of the city which already suffers from severe traffic congestion.
The alternative will be for thousands of people to have to drive or take taxis, buses and trains to find an affordable shop
“The plan as initiated will provide insufficient delivery guarantees for critical infrastructure, will have an overly negative impact on existing communities and will not provide new communities with the facilities they need, when they need them.”
The new town will at its closest point come within metres of Adamstown, the State’s first SDZ . With Adamstown, Lucan and Clondalkin already suffering severe daily traffic congestion, concerns have been raised locally that the road network cannot cope with the additional traffic.
The plan did not take into account the existing pressures on traffic and placed too much housing close to already overstretched junctions instead of close to the two train stations, Mr Gogarty said. One of the stations, Clondalkin-Fonthill, is already operational; the second, Kishoge, was built in 2008 but never opened.
Higher density, particularly at Kishoge station, would create a “suitable mass” for retail development he said. “The alternative will be for thousands of people to have to drive or take taxis, buses and trains to find an affordable shop.”
Mr Gogarty, who was mayor until last month, said he acknowledged the need for increased housing supply, but added: “The housing crisis does not mean we leave the provisions of essential services, community spaces, playing pitches and transportation infrastructure up to the vagaries of the market.”
The council received several hundred submissions on the SDZ, large numbers of which urged caution in relation to allowing too many houses and apartments to be built too quickly. Several residents and residents’ associations complained that the council’s plans were “vague and lacking in clarity”, particularly its transport proposals.
The development of Clonburris was initially planned more than a decade ago. A high density “eco-district” of up to 15,000 homes, mostly apartments, was planned, but was predicated on the development of the Metro West rail line, which was shelved in 2011.
No development took place on the lands, and in 2015 the then government identified Clonburris as a key site for new housing provision.