Anger as public left out of focus on consultation of 1,200 homes

by Sylvia Pownall

Donabate residents are calling for proper public consultation on plans to build up to 1,200 new homes on a council-owned landbank at Ballymastone next year.

Fingal County Council is seeking expressions of interest from developers to construct the units as part of its efforts to fast-track delivery of social and affordable housing.

But Supporting Proper Development in Donabate (SPDD) and Donabate Portrane Community Council both want locals to be consulted before building begins.

Corinna Johnston, who is a member of both groups, said: “We fully welcome houses in Donabate but there are infrastructural issues in terms of schools, a garda station and amenities.

“We believe there should be full consultation with the community. We believe we need to sit down and meet with Fingal County Council. There should be open and full consultation and transparency on this plan.”

Under the plan, half the homes – a mix of houses and apartments – would be for private sale with 30% social and 20% affordable.

The Donabate Local Area Plan 2016 provides for the development of the Ballymastone lands and the the council says it published what it describes as a “market sounding document” on eTenders to gauge interest and explore options.

But there are no plans for public consultation, despite the fact that the local authority is holding a consultation ahead of drafting a master plan for a large tract of land at Castlelands in Balbriggan.

Director of planning Annemarie Farrelly said: “An educational and recreational campus will be delivered at Ballymastone and the area is also due to be linked to Malahide via the Broadmeadow Greenway.”

A council spokesperson told Dublin Gazette: “The announcement that the council is seeking market soundings is merely the latest step in a process that has already seen extensive consultation with the community in Donabate, and they will also have another opportunity to participate when the project moves into the statutory planning process.”

The local authority received 18 submissions during the first submission period for the local area plan, 30 submissions during the second, and during the draft plan statutory submission period, 66 submissions were received.

The spokesperson added: “Fingal County Council recognises the role Donabate plays in the wider Fingal region, in terms of its potential to support a high quality of life with the offer of culture and heritage, access to the coast, waterways and the city and airport.

“As such, Fingal is focused on delivering a successful and sustainable community through the provision of physical and social infrastructure and improving connections between the new and existing communities.”

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