Project refused but fear persists rejected

by Gazette Reporter

Planning permission for the proposed development of a Lidl supermarket, medical centre and a number of other shops at the site adjacent to the flower shop in Castleknock Village has been refused by Fingal County Council.
Residents of the area were vehemently opposed to this development, with traffic issues being cited as one of the key causes of concern. While these residents may be happy that the development has been refused permission, many are worried about the reasons set out by Fingal County Council, for the refusal.
One of the reasons for refusal set out by the council was that it considered that “the proposed development would represent the underutilisation and the inefficient use of serviced and zoned lands”.
Another reason cited by the council was that the plan was not consistent with the Urban Centre Strategy. It said: “It is an objective of the Fingal Development Plan 2011-2017 and the Castleknock Urban Centre Strategy to provide for mixed uses in any redevelopment of this site to enhance and develop the urban fabric of Castleknock. It is considered that the proposed development would be inconsistent with the Castleknock Urban Centre Strategy.”
Cllr Eithne Loftus (FG) was at the forefront of opposition to the site. She said that while she is glad that permission was refused, the reasons for refusal are worrying. She said that the Urban Centre Strategy is very unpopular with residents, and implied that the reasons for refusal have ominous implications for future developments at the site.
“I am delighted that it was refused, but the conditions on which it was refused worry me considerably. As we all know, the Castleknock Urban Centre Strategy is a questionable document, and the community would have a lot of objections to it. All in all, I am very disappointed with the reasons for refusing the application.
“Another disappointing feature of this, is that I got acknowledgement of my objection to the application, on the day that they made the decision. Decisions are never made as quickly as this in the council, so I felt that it was a bit strange in the extreme, and all in all I am very worried about it.”
Former councillor for the area and current Labour Party representative John Walsh said: “It is extraordinary that one of the reasons given is that the Lidl application involved ‘underutilisation’ of the zoned site – this is a worrying indication that high density development of the site is still on the cards at a future date.
“This decision should be only the beginning of an open dialogue between the council and the community on future development in the area: local residents deserve the same level of consultation and engagement from their council as a developer receives in the pre-planning process.”
Fingal County Council declined to comment on the statements made by Cllr Loftus and Mr Walsh.

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