Wednesday, 10 January 2007

Is a plan for Sandyford needed? An Bord Pleanala thinks so ...

The Irish Times

While I was one of the planning officers at Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council dealing with Sandyford, it was interesting to be dealing with such large planning applications, but also very controversial due to the ongoing conversion of this estate from old IDA-style industrial estate to mixed use business park.

The Irish Times has reported that a framework plan for the development of the Sandyford Industrial Estate is to be initiated following concerns raised by An Bord Pleanála about a shortage of parks in the area.

This is interesting, as I would have thought it would have been initiated on the grounds of traffic. Apparently, councillors in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council voted to accept the county manager's (Owen Keegan) proposal to develop an urban framework plan after An Bord Pleanála raised concerns about planning developments in the estate. The council's planning department received a letter from the board in which it stated it was concerned about the cumulative impact of high-density residential development already approved or proposed for the estate.

The Irish Times quotes from this letter: "The board has noted the congested nature of the local network, the capacity of public transport, including the Luas system, and the relatively restricted connectivity of the estate with the wider area," the letter said. "The absence of a clear strategy for provision of public open spaces, including parks and playgrounds, to serve the immediate needs of this area is of concern."

The board asked the council if there was an intention to draw up a local area plan. The letter was sent in the context of recent large-scale planning applications in Sandyford.

In my view, Sandyford represents a micro-cosm of Irish planning, as it has a bit of everything. For example, it has sustainable transport in bus and Luas, but vast numbers of car parking spaces, which is unsustainable.

It is also interesting to hear views coming out of the board.

I will continue to watch Sandyford with interest.

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