SHD in firing line as residents object to Sandyford development

by Gary Ibbotson
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Residents of the Leopardstown Heights housing estate, near Sandyford, have submitted over 100 objections to An Bord Pleanala opposing the proposed development of a 249-unit apartment complex in the area.

Property developers Park Developments submitted the plans to An Bord Pleanala in late September as a Strategic Housing Development – bypassing Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council in the process.

The plans propose the construction of three apartment blocks ranging in six to 13 storeys in height on Murphystown Way beside the Ballyogan Road.

Jean Gargan Smith, a resident of Leopardstown Heights, told Dublin Gazette that the scale of the development is what the residents are opposing to.

“We are not opposed to housing in the area,” says Gargan Smith. “We are just opposed to the size of the development.”

“With this scale, traffic is always going to be an issue and schools are always going to be an issue,” she says.

“The Local Area Plan (LAP) drafted by Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council says that the site is appropriate for 180 units, this is proposing 246, which is ignoring the guidelines of the LAP.”

“It is not keeping within the character of the area,” she says.

Gargan Smith says that the local residents have submitted over 100 objections to ABP calling for the proposal to be rejected.

Labour councillor for the area, Lettie McCarthy, is also against the development and says that SHDs and their fast-tracked nature stifle proper consideration of large-scale developments.

“Sustainable planning should ensure basics like school spaces, road infrastructure, transport infrastructure and capacity, protection of hedgerows, wildlife corridors and public open space,” McCarthy says.

“I believe SHD planning shows no consideration for existing communities and neighbourhoods and sees nothing wrong with allowing high rise apartment blocks being built next door to two-storey housing estates. 

“It is also my opinion that this fast turnaround does not, in all cases, give sufficient time to planners to consider these very detailed planning applications,” she says.

Gargan Smith also says residents have had little time to fully read over the proposal and submit their objections in time due to the SHD guidelines.

“This proposal became public five weeks ago,” she says.

“We didn’t have much time to question them while the developers have had many months to get everything ready and file with ABP.”

Furthermore, any objections filed with ABP have to be submitted via post, hindering the appeal process, says Gargan Smith.

“Why can’t we do it online?” she says. “It’s 2020 for god sake.”

McCarthy says that the SHD procedure does not allow for proper concerns to be heard.

“I believe this process does not reflect the genuine and constructive concerns of local communities and further erodes democracy,” says McCarthy.

“Our area is saturated with SHD’s now and residents are trying to study and consider these applications in their spare time which is a very daunting task considering the number of files associated with each application.”

A decision on the proposal is due to be made on January 19, 2021.

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