Locals delighted as St Anne’s Park saved

by Rachel Darcy

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The long-contested development of the playing fields of St Paul’s school has been stopped by An Bord Pleanala, with locals rejoicing over the decision.

A planning application had been lodged for the building of more than 500 homes on the six current football pitches at St Paul’s College, beside St Anne’s Park, with locals protesting for months over the development.

Permission for the 432 apartments and 104 houses was initially awarded in April; however, a number of High Court challenges against the decision were then brought against An Bord Pleanala.

The application was made directly to An Bord Pleanala through a new fast-track system, which allows developers to bypass local authorities in the planning process.

Multiple local politicians criticised the decision, as well as Dublin City Council representatives who had objected to the development of the parkland area.

They also argued that the land for the project was not zoned for residential housing, and that St Anne’s was a vital part of the locality in raheny.

The area is one of a number of sites in Dublin that homes Brent Geese and are noted as the most important site in the Dublin area for the birds outside of their natural habitat.

A community Facebook page, I Love St Annes, announced the news with great delight last week, thanking those who had supported its campaign against the development.

They also said that the next move will be getting the “land owner to cut the grass” on the land.

A statement from developer Marlet Homes, who were behind the proposed build, said: “Marlet notes [the] announcement by An Bord Pleanala, reversing their original decision to grant planning permission for 536 homes on lands on Sybil Hill Road, Raheny.

“While understandably disappointed with the outcome, we look forward to working with the Bord on future strategic housing development projects with the objective of increasing the availability of sustainable and fully serviced housing in the Dublin region.”

Speaking on the decision, Senator Catherine Noone (FG) said: “This victory would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of local residents and community organisations.”

Senator Aodhan O’Riordain (Lab) said: “The development of eight-storey apartment blocks would have had a devastating effect on the environmental integrity of this much-loved green lung of the north side.

“I am delighted that An Bord Pleanala have seen sense and I will continue to fight for appropriate housing development on the north side.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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