Relief for residents as noisy school works end

by Emma Nolan
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“INTOLERABLE” building works that have plagued Belarmine residents since March have finally quietened down.

Residents of Belarmine Square in Stepaside complained that loud building works were starting as early as 6:30am some mornings and continuing until almost 11pm some nights.

Permission has been granted for the construction of a new Educate Together primary school on a site located off Belarmine Vale in Stepaside.

One Belarmine Square resident, Teresa, told The Gazette that she has been putting up with the noise since March.

She said: “It went on until after half past 10 one evening last week. Really, since the clocks went forward in March, they [the builders] were starting up their machinery as early as they could.

“One morning last week, they started at 20 to seven in the morning, and it was still going at half past 10 in the evening.

“Belarmine is a very quiet residential area so we were listening to this from first thing in the morning – you literally wouldn’t need an alarm clock.”

Teresa said she was relieved that the noise had stopped occurring at unsociable hours since last week, but only as a result of the pressure placed on the council’s planning enforcement section.

“It was very disrespectful to the residents, aside from the fact that it showed disregard for the local bylaws of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown which state that no construction is allowed in residential areas before 8am or after 7pm.

“So, clearly they were working outside of hours. Going forward, I think the issues have been resolved and any nights they are going to be working late for certain reasons, we will be given notice.”

Cllr Lettie McCarthy (Lab) told The Gazette that she was “outraged at the lack of respect” shown to residents.

She said: “We understand they are under time restraints to complete the project, but locals shouldn’t suffer as a result of their bad planning.

“As far as I am concerned, the Department of Education should have started this project earlier, allowing enough time to reach completion within normal working hours.

“Residents should not be subject to building site noise at 6.45 am – this is completely unacceptable.”

Following the complaints from local residents and public representatives, a spokesperson from the council said that one of the conditions of the governing planning permission was that the applicants would submit a construction management plan for the approval of the planning authority.

A plan was submitted which indicated that, in general, site hours would be between 8am and 7pm, Monday to Friday, and Saturday from 8am to 2pm, with no works to take place on Sundays.

The decision to approve this plan was made by the Planning Authority on July 3.

“Following the receipt of a number of complaints as to the hours of construction work, an enforcement file was opened and warning letters pursuant to Section 152 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, have been served on the applicants and their agent.

“This remains a live enforcement investigation.”

Cllr McCarthy said that another resident contacted her at 10.30pm one night last week as he was “trying to get his two-year-old to sleep”.

She said: “It is not unreasonable for people to want to enjoy their summer evenings without noise, dust and distribution going on around them, but apparently the Department of Education have no consideration for such wishes.”

The Gazette contacted the Department of Education for a comment but had not received a response by the time of going to print.

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