Councillors vow to appeal Clonburris plan

by Mark O'Brien

Several councillors have vowed to appeal the Draft Planning Scheme for the Clonburris Strategic Development Zone (SDZ) after the council voted to pass the amended plan.

The amended plan was passed by 24 votes to nine, with two councillors abstaining and five absent.

The plan will now revert to An Bord Pleanala for final approval.

But some South Dublin County councillors were critical of the plan, saying that they fear it will “short-change” future residents. All Fine Gael councillors voted against the plan.

In a statement released after the meeting, SDCC Fine Gael Leader Emer Higgin said they would be making an appeal to An Bord Pleanala.

She said: “This latest version of the plan actually reverses some of the positive progress we made during votes in January and February, where we sought to have additional public transport linked to the delivery of new homes.

“It also puts an additional 400 units back into the scheme which we voted to remove. “Our attempts to have a clearly identified site for a new Garda Station, as well an extra pedestrian and cycle bridge beside a school were also voted down.

“So too as was additional proposed retail in one of the higher-density areas and our proposal for affordable housing, adapted housing and step-down homes for older people.

“In the end, this plan is a watered down version of what we voted on in February and the new draft is simply not something which we could in all good faith support.”

Cllr Paul Gogarty (Ind) abstained from the vote, criticising other councillors, saying they were putting the delivery of housing above the delivery of a sustainable community.

In a statement on Facebook following the vote, he said: “The plan that passed last night was about 10% better than the amended draft, which is why I ultimately abstained.

“Many of my colleagues voted against it – I almost did too – but remember voting against doesn’t stop the plan, it just goes back to the original draft for appeal to An Bord Pleanala in case people thought it would have any other effect.

“It is a rotten plan at its core, because it is based on political posturing rather than good planning practices.

“That’s just my opinion and I’m entitled to it as an elected representative, but to go by some of the nasty personalised comments again last night, you’re only allowed to express your view if it’s in line with the groupthink. Orwell would be turning in his grave.”

Cllr Gogarty had been accused of “playing to the public gallery” when he chaired a series of meetings on the initial plans in February.

Cllr Dermot Looney (SD) voted in favour of the plan and reiterated his previous criticism of Cllr Gogarty.

Speaking following Tuesday’s meeting, he said: “The alternative is an outdated plan from 10 years ago with inappropriately high densities for this area.

“I also criticised the comments and role of Mayor Gogarty in how he has conducted this process.”

Cllr Francis Timmons (Ind) said he wasn’t happy with the overall plan but ultimately voted in favour as he felt it was the right thing to do in the middle of a housing crisis.

He said: “I really hope commitments given are kept. I hope it becomes a sustainable community and the dreadful planning of the past is not repeated. We owe it to everyone that is housed there.”

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