AN BORD Pleanála has refused planning permission for a bridge over the river Liffey together with roads and other infrastructure to serve a proposed town centre scheme at Donaghcumper Demesne, Celbridge, Co Kildare.
The planning board said Donaghcumper House was a protected structure near the historic main street of Celbridge and in the vicinity of Castletown House and its historic grounds. It said the proposed development would constitute a “major intrusion”.
The board ruled against the creation of a heavily trafficked junction at the entrance gates to Castletown – as proposed by developers Devondale Ltd – and said it would also result in an “excessive degree of encroachment” into the high-amenity Liffey Valley.
An Bord Pleanála overturned a decision last July by Kildare County Council to approve Devondale’s plan for 108 detached houses at Donaghcumper on similar grounds, saying it would “seriously injure the amenities of the area and of property in the vicinity”.
Devondale has been seeking to develop lands to the west of Donaghcumper House for a mixed-use scheme comprising an urban expansion of Celbridge, including 648 residential units and commercial/retail floor-space of circa 47,300sq m.
Planning consultant Jeanne Meldon, who had acted for objectors in both cases, said the board’s latest refusal would have the effect of “copper-fastening the conservation of these lands adjacent to Castletown”, which is maintained by the Office of Public Works.
The appeal was brought by 16 objectors, including the Castletown Foundation, An Taisce, the Liffey Valley Park Alliance, the Irish Landmark Trust, the Irish Georgian Society, local groups and Independent councillor Catherine Murphy, who has been elected as a TD for Kildare.
Ms Murphy said: “I strongly opposed the rezoning of the Donaghcumper land for development, which was pushed through by the great majority of Kildare County Council, on the proposal of Emmet Stagg of the Labour Party, in 2002.”
She would be seeking an “immediate revision” of the Kildare County Development Plan and the Celbridge Local Area plan, arguing that the plans for Donaghcumper had “inhibited positive development in Celbridge”, including proposals to widen the existing bridge.
“It has taken a massive effort over several years, by those of us who have opposed the development, to undo the damage done by the decision to rezone the land. Those efforts were strongly supported by residents of Celbridge, who made more than 4,000 submissions to the recent review of the county plan.”