Siobhan Donnelly and Maria Smith, of Combined Griffeen Planning Action Group, with Cllr William Lavelle (FG)

A 41-ACRE site in Lucan, designated for almost 900 apartments, has been returned to South Dublin County Council (SDCC) by Nama and Shelbourne Development.
The real estate developer acquired the 41.5-acre site adjacent to Adamstown in the Balgaddy/Clonburris Strategic Development Zone from SDCC in 2006.
As part of their contract, Shelbourne Development was to pay €40m for the Lucan site, while the council was to acquire the land at Cooldrinagh, near Leixlip.
Shelbourne initially sought permission for 973 apartments and houses on the Lucan site, but council planners reduced the number to 898 and also granted permission for shops and community facilities.
At the time, there was a significant amount of controversy when it emerged that the then councillors did not consult with the local community before agreeing to this land-swap.
A large campaign of objections arose from the community through the Combined Griffeen Planning Action Group.
The council took legal action against Shelbourne Development when they went into receivership in 2011 and could not comply with the terms of the agreement of their contract.
SDCC’s director of development, Frank Nevin, said the legal action has now been resolved, with an agreement to transfer the 41-acre site back to the council.
He said: “Following protracted negotiations between the council, Shelbourne and Nama, agreement was reached that Shelbourne would transfer the lands that it had acquired from the council back to the council in full and final settlement of all outstanding issues.
“The legal representatives for both parties have been instructed, and the transfer of title process has been initiated.”
Cllr William Lavelle (FG) has welcomed the council’s move to retake ownership of the site.
He said: “By retaking the site, the council has effectively killed-off the planned development of 898 high-density apartments by Shelbourne Development on these lands.
“I will now turn my focus to working with the local community to ensure that residents have a say at an early stage on the future for these publicly-owned lands.”
Maria Smith, of Combined Griffeen Planning Action Group, said: “As somebody who lives right next to the land-swap site, I welcome that it is coming back into public hands and that high-rise apartments will now not be built overlooking my house.
“I hope the local community will now be given an opportunity to decide on the future of these lands.”