Concern of a U-turn on controversial road plan

by Mark O'Brien

The controversial proposed road through St Catherine’s Park may not be removed from the Leixlip Local Area Plan despite receiving the full backing of Kildare county councillors.
In July, councillors voted to make an alteration to the Local Area Plan that guaranteed that a road would not be built through the park.
Some of the park falls into the jurisdiction of Fingal County Council and in September, Fingal county councillors also voted to remove the indicative road from their Local Area Plan.
These actions came after locals protested against building a road through the park, fearing that it would ruin a valuable local amenity.
But last week, the Save St Catherine’s Park Campaign shared details of a report written by Minister for Housing and Urban Development Damien English to Kildare County Council in which Minister English states that removing the indicative road would be “premature”.
The report states: “The Department notes that the Draft Leixlip Local Area Plan does not feature a road proposal related to St Catherine’s Park east of the town.
“The future required road and other infrastructure for the development of Leixlip…will be examined by the council including as part of the masterplan to be undertaken for the Confey lands under Objective CSO1.3 that will be subsequently integrated into the Leixlip Local Area Plan with way of statutory amendment.
“The insertion of such an objective is therefore considered to be premature and the above part (B) of Proposed Material Alteration No 31 should be deleted.”
Ann Field of the Save St Catherine’s Park campaign told The Gazette she was very concerned by this development.
“We have a Minister now trying to tell a full county council to do a U-turn on a vote that they made three months ago and we don’t think that’s democratic and we don’t think he should have the power to overturn a decision that was made democratically by the full council with the backing of the residents of Leixlip,” she said.
Ms Field added that the proposed road would block access to the park for people on the Leixlip side and campaigners felt there were alternatives to building a road through the park.
“We feel that if there is a road needed to link the N4 to the N3, it should be over where the N3 comes down to Dunboyne,” she said.
“That’s west of Leixlip and it doesn’t interfere with any parks and it also doesn’t interfere with any housing estates so it’s an ideal scenario and it’s a great solution.”
The Department of Housing confirmed that it had made the submission to Kildare County Council.
A spokesperson for the Department added: “The chief executive of Kildare County Council has circulated his report on the submissions received on the Proposed Material Alterations to the elected members of the Council.
“Kildare County Council is scheduled to consider the Proposed Material Alterations to the Draft Leixlip LAP 2017-23 at its forthcoming Council Meeting on 20th November next.
“As the statutory process for formulating the LAP has yet to be concluded by Kildare County Council as per the legislation, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”

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