As Techcrete is moving to Balbriggan, a large development site with mixed-use zoning is coming up for development. In approving the material contravention for the Edros site, the Council agreed that the privately owned Techcrete and Teelings sites would be developed in an integrated fashion with the Council-owned depot and Baltray Park sites, and that the proposed community facilities would be sited at the most suitable part of the overall site.
Last week the Planning Department called a special area cttee. meeting to discuss the proposals. I attach my comments on the Techcrete site proposal, as sent to Planning Department of Fingal County Council as a result of the meeting.
David Healy / Daithí Ó hÉalaithe <firstname.lastname@example.org> Fri, Sep 5, 2008 at 6:04 PM
To: Gilbert Power <email@example.com>
Cc: David OConnor <David.OConnor@fingalcoco.ie>
I refer to the in camera Area Cttee. meeting yesterday at which the above site was discussed. In response to my query when this extra meeting was called, Brian Buckley told us:
" I expect that the Urban Centre Strategy will have been circulated to Members by then – at the very least the Techrete site element will be available so that we can have a full discussion on the issues."
None of the information presented to us was described as having resulted from or being part of the Urban Centre Strategy and no documentation of any sort was provided. I am very concerned that we apparently engaging in pre-planning discussions without the benefit of the Urban Centre Strategy which we are paying consultants to draft.
As you know, when the Edros Material Contravention was put forward, the Council agreed that the Baltray/Techcrete/Teelings site owned partly by the Council, partly by Dublin City Council and partly by developers would be developed as an integrated site. This was not what was proposed to us yesterday.
The community facility which should by all reasonable thinking be located in proximity to the railway station and the overall centre of gravity of Howth village so as to facilitate pedestrian and public transport access, has been pushed to the far end of the site.
Part of the result of this, is that valuable land will be given over to a dedicated car park, solely for the community faciltity, whereas a facility in the vicinity of the Harbour could rely on the large areas of available parking in the Harbour. As you know, the parking survey carried out last year by the Council’s consultants found a maximum occupancy rate on the Middle Pier car-parking area of 10%.
A public park is proposed without any explanation as to who is expected to be using it, or how they are expected to get there, or how it would add to the existing amenities of the area including Baltray Beach, Harbour Road promenade and the coastal, hill and heathland walks.
While we were not told the precise location of the access to the beach, we were given to understand that it would be some distance from the community centre, thus undermining the value of the centre as a base for water-based activities and reducing its centrality to main pedestrian routes.
The option of using the 2 lower floors of a 4-storey building for the community facility seems not to have been considered.
The only reason advanced yesterday for the site was that this was the piece of land owned by the Council and it would be more expensive to engage in a land swap to move the facility closer to the community. The significant cost advantages of integrating the facility in a larger building and relying on existing car parking were apparently not considered.
I would not be happy with the Council facilitating an application on the site given the above serious difficulties with the proposal as presented. I will be expressing my concerns to the developers when I meet them with Cllr. Maher on Tuesday. While of course, I haven’t looked at the issues from their point of view, I don’t see any reason why they would not be able to facilitate the kind of changes I suggest above.
In relation to the Urban Centre Strategy’s examination of the site as a whole, which I understand will be on our area cttee. agenda in a fortnight, I will take this opportunity to reiterate my concerns, already expressed directly to the consultants and the Planning Department, that this strategy must address the following key concerns:
* appropriate heights for the proposed development, including visual impacts when seen from SAAO and the heritage areas of Howth
* mixed use development, including employment-generating uses as required by the zoning
* public access throughout the site and to the beach
* views through the site to Ireland’s Eye
Cllr David Healy
Green Party/Comhaontas Glas
Howth ward / Ceantar Bhinn Éadair
54, Páirc Éabhóra,