Concerns over new Balbriggan plan as key link road opens

by Sylvia Pownall

A crucial piece of infrastructure which could create 900 jobs was opened in Balbriggan last week as a key master plan to develop another 60 acres at Castlelands was unveiled.

The eagerly-awaited Stephenstown Link Road linking the existing roundabout to a new one on Clonard Street opens up 53 acres of industrial land which is zoned for general employment and high-technology.

The industrial park is already home to builders merchants EEC Hardware, Tierney Kitchens, Rockabill Shellfish Ltd, Techcrete and Grimme Ireland Equipment Ltd.

Mayor Cllr Anthony Lavin (FG) cut the ribbon declaring the link road open, adding that it “has the potential to bring 900 jobs to the area and will realise social, community, commercial, economic and family benefits for the town of Balbriggan”.

Meanwhile, an area meeting of Fingal County Council has heard details of the Castlelands master plan which aims to deliver 1,000 housing units on 60 acres along with a public swimming pool and a school.

Development of the state-owned land could see Balbriggan’s population grow by 4,000 people with heavy densities of up to 57 houses per hectare proposed in blocks of up to six stories in height.

The draft plan, which is open for public consultation from May 7 to May 28, allows for a mixed tenure of housing with just 10% allocated for social housing, 30% affordable and the remaining 60% private.

Social Democrats local election candidate Garrett Mullan called on the public to engage fully during the consultation period.

He said the Castlelands project will bring the town’s population to more than 30,000 people over the next ten years, and “will have an impact in north Fingal for decades to come”.

He added: “The social housing allocation is very low considering the land is state-owned.

“The increased population will mean increased traffic demand but the plan does not indicate any increase in public transport provision, and I am very concerned about that because the town is already clogged up.

“The promise of amenities and housing must be implemented appropriately and mistakes of the past will not be tolerated by the local community. People should engage with the process.

“The level of participation in the initial consultation in August 2018 was significant. Within that participation, the public demand for a swimming pool was very strong.

“That the council responded to that is a positive indication, so people should definitely make submissions,” he said.

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