St Mark’s housing plan gets red card

by Ian Begley

A CONTROVERSIAL building proposal for St Mark’s Green has been given the red card this week after the Department of Environment said it is not in a position to approve the proposal from South Dublin County Council to construct 11 in-fill houses at St Mark’s Green, Clondalkin.

A representative from the Department said: “Having regard to the existing high level of commitments under this department’s social housing investment programme, the department is not in a position to approve the proposal at this time.

“This department understands that a public consultation process was held in accordance with the procedures relating to Part 8 of the Planning and Development Regulations 2001–12, and that this process afforded members of the community an opportunity to make submissions and observations in relation to the proposed in-fill scheme.”

This news comes after a high number of complaints were made in relation to the council’s proposal to remove 25% of green space at St Mark’s, which was to be replaced with houses.

Francis Timmons, a representative from the St Mark’s Action Group, had previously collected the signatures of more than 700 individuals who were against development of the site.

Commenting on the department’s decision, Timmons said: “This is welcome news, but it still means we have to continue the campaign to keep St Mark’s Green as a green into the future.

“We will continue to engage with all councillors and TDs that are willing to meet and talk with us. The recent decision by the Minister [for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan] gives us breathing space but we cannot, and will not, be complacent.”

The representative from St Mark’s Action Group said there is considerable agreement among the residents that the 11 houses should be built, but on a site that will not decrease the size of the green.

He said: “We would like to think that the obvious and substantial objections to the proposal have made our elected representatives aware of how strongly the residents of St Mark’s Green are opposed to this proposal.”

Cllr Trevor Gilligan (FF) had previously voiced his disappointment at the council’s proposal to build houses on the green, and supports the group’s campaign to persuade the council to build the houses on an alternative site.

He said: “Under all circumstances, St Mark’s Green must stay as it is. There are residents living decades at the green and they want the green to stay.

“I feel there is adequate space for housing in other locations and I, along with the St Mark’s Action Group, would welcome the setting up of a steering committee with a view to bringing this forward.

“However, I am against any developments that would see the removal of St Mark’s Green, one of the only open spaces left in north Clondalkin,” he said.

South Dublin County Council previously stated that the homes were necessary for the area and had proposed to build 11 houses on the green.

In August, a council spokesperson said the area around the green was a site for anti-social behaviour, which would be largely reduced by the building of the houses.
The spokesperson said: “The western side of St Mark’s Green is not overlooked or supervised by the adjoining houses, whose gables and side walls only face onto the space.
“As a result, it has been for a long time the location of anti-social behaviour and ongoing littering and a problem to the adjoining residents.”

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