14 Nov 2019

Uncle Tom’s Cabin – Sold

Uncle Tom’s Cabin has been sold for development, for €3 million. Most likely apartments will be built here, as it’s zoned for residential development. According to this Irish Times article:

“It is understood that the new owners intend to keep Uncle Tom’s Cabin open and trading for the time being, until a final decision is made on the type of scheme for which planning permission will be sought. “

This will be probably be the last Christmas you can enjoy a cozy pint in this long-established pub.

12 Nov 2019

Bike Parking

The Council has indicated that they wish to provide bike parking at the shops area on Farmhill Road. Over the last couple of years the Council has been rolling out an initiative across all of Dún Laoghaire Rathdown to improve the frequency and quality of bike parking in the county.

They are proposing to put a small amount of bike parking on the public slip-road between the shops and the Green. Two stands of two “n” bars on either side of the pedestrian access to the shops’ forecourt are being proposed.

This location solves two problems here:
1. The need for bike parking
2. The Council has highlighted a pedestrian safety issue at this location. There should be a 45 degree clear “sightline” from the kerb out to the road, in order to allow for enough line of sight for people crossing the road. This would equate to a small yellow box-type area of approximately 2 metres either side. Enough space to install the small bike racks, and to improve pedestrian safety at this area.

The Residents’ Association supports this proposal. The Council is keen to install it as soon as possible.

10 Nov 2019

Review of the Strategic Housing Development Process

Some residents may be interested in The Report of the Review Group on the Operation of the Strategic Housing Development process 2017-2019 which was published recently. This was a report compiled to investigate the SHD (Fast-track) planning process, ahead of a possible extension for a further two years. The Residents’ Association made a submission during the public consultation in the summer. We argued against its continuation for various reasons, as did many politicians, community groups etc. This Report has now been laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas.

This report makes many recommendations to improve the process, including a possible “use it or lose it” clause, if the development is not commenced after a period of eighteen months. The Group also recommended increasing response times during the process, hosting the planning details on a planning authority website, not the developers, allowing the public more access to An Bord Pleanala reports, and also increasing the threshold from 100 units to 200 units. There are many other recommendations listed in the document.

Unfortunately, while Minister Eoghan Murphy agreed with the introduction of the ‘use-it-or-lose-it’ clause, he rejected suggestions to double the threshold, claiming it would lead to confusion, and to extend the time-frame for public consultation. The Minister will sign an order to implement the changes before the end of the year.

It’s disappointing that the Minister is not taking on board more of the Report’s recommendations. Thanks to Cllr Anne Colgan for sending this on, and thanks to Senator Victor Boyhan for consulting with us, and communicating the Association’s experience and opinion of this SHD process during the recent Joint Oireachtas Committee meeting.

07 Nov 2019

Spring Bulbs

You may have noticed the Tidy Districts’ Team out planting bulbs over the last few weeks. These amazing ladies are planting over 50kg (i.e. a serious amount of bulbs) around our area. There is going to be a riot of colour here come the Spring time. Daffodils, tulips, crocuses, snowdrops etc. etc.

07 Nov 2019

Reclaim the Footpaths

We are re-launching our Reclaim the Footpaths initiative we successfully ran a few years ago. We’ve had quite a few complaints recently from residents (including wheelchair users) in relation to hedges and trees overhanging, and encroaching onto, the footpaths in the area.

We are asking that residents look at the path outside your house and remove any vegetation from your garden growing above the footpaths. If your hedge is encroaching onto the footpath, it needs to be cut back to be in line with the garden wall.

Parents with buggies, or small kids on bikes/scooters, know how annoying it is when passing houses with big hedges that encroach out onto the footpath. It makes going two abreast difficult, if not impossible. It is also a particular problem for wheelchair users.

“Twig Eye”

As well as being really annoying for walkers and wheelchair users, it’s a safety concern, especially at night when it’s hard to see vegetation. Nobody wants to make a trip to The Eye & Ear with “twig eye”!

If you need help to cut back your hedge, we can pass on contact details of a reliable local hedge-cutter.

07 Nov 2019

Christmas Party – Save the Date

Our Christmas party will be held on the green on Saturday 7th December this year, probably between 4pm and 6pm.

  • Santa
  • Awe and wonder when the Christmas lights are turned on
  • Mulled wine
  • Scintillating conversation
  • Mulled wine
  • Fancy new card machine to pay your €20 annual subscription (so excuses about carrying no cash will no longer be acceptable!)
  • New €10 donation (per family) for people who come but who don’t live in the Association’s area
  • Mulled wine

Bet you can’t wait. More details to follow…

06 Nov 2019

Deputation Meeting with Council

We held a deputation meeting with members of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council last month. Four members of the committee attended the meeting along with representatives of various Council departments and County Councillors. We discussed issues relating to drainage, the built environment, traffic etc. We’ve been very impressed that in the time since that meeting the Council has come to tackle some of our issues.

You may have noticed that we now no longer have our long-established swimming pool at the end of Farmhill Drive and Larchfield Road. The drainage issue at this location has finally been investigated properly, and is being repaired. The drainage people also responded to these issues:

  • Gullies to be upgraded (i.e. two at Farmhill Dr/Larchfield Rd junction and one at Larchfield Road/Friarsland Rd junction)
  • One new gulley to be installed at old Goatstown Road/Larchfield Road junction where ponding occurs at dished footpath.
  • Damaged gully lid at Larchfield Park/Farmhill Road junction

The Council also came and put new kerbing along the old stretch of Goatstown Road, close to the end of Larchfield Road.

We’ve been so impressed with the response that we’ve already requested another Deputation meeting for next year!

24 Oct 2019

Judicial Review – OLG Development

Background:
As you are probably all aware, the developer Durkan applied for planning for the site at the back of the campus via the Strategic Housing Development scheme, the fast-track process. The development is to consist of 132 units, in 3 five storey apartment blocks, 19 houses, a new afterschool building, and a smaller 3 storey apartment block.

At the end of August An Bord Pleanála granted permission for this development in its entirety. There were approximately 50 objections in total – from residents, parents at the schools, various politicians, as well as from the Residents’ Association. The CEO of Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council recommended in her report that planning be refused, as the development contravened The County Development Plan. The Council’s argument was that the conditions associated with the “Inst” designation on the zoning were not being followed. However despite this, An Bord Pleanála decided to go ahead and award planning, with no significant conditions attached.

This was a very disappointing decision, and one that will not only have an impact on our community, but also a decision that effectively negates the protection afforded to Institutionally zoned land in the whole of Dún Laoghaire Rathdown.

Judicial Review
There is no facility for appeal with the SHD/ fast track process. It also appears that the Council’s opinion is effectively meaningless. Certainly in this case it did not appear to be a significant weighting factor. The only option to review the decision after permission is granted is to request a Judicial Review at the High Court. The prohibitive cost of this means that most people are not in a position to take this route. Also it is worth noting that a Judicial Review can only be taken on a point of law, not on the planning decisions.

A resident on Friarsland Road is taking the case to the High Court. His case makes various points but the main ones relate to the superceding of the zoning. It is an absurd situation that this resident is effectively defending ALL “Inst” zoned land in the whole of Dún Laoghaire Rathdown. This judgement will be relevant to all land zoned this way across the county. The prohibitive cost means that this resident has no choice but to take the case himself, without legal representation.

Last week leave to apply for a judicial review was granted. An Bord Pleanála and Durkan will most likely be submitting their own arguments, and the hearing will take place on December 17th. The judge’s decision may or may not be made on that date.

The Residents’ Association is fully supportive of this resident’s actions, and applaud him on his remarkable achievement to date.