Sunday 25 May 2008

Dublin council considers ban on residential development

Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council in Dublin is considering banning residential development on almost 3,000 acres of land in the borough.

The council is seeking written submissions on its proposal, to vary the county’s development plan by excluding residential development from 1,203 hectares of land with the zoning ‘objective F’. Land is zoned objective F to preserve open space, but the development of community and recreational facilities, such as sports clubs, is permitted in principle.

Other options open for consideration have included applications for residential developments. If the proposed amendment is approved, the council will no longer accept planning applications for houses and apartments on lands which are zoned objective F.

The proposed change follows a High Court ruling in March, overturning a council decision to preserve 4.5 acres of unused playing fields next to the Presentation Brothers’ former secondary school in Glasthule. The order wanted to sell the lands to pay for the upkeep of its schools in Ireland and Africa, and for the care of retired brothers.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly said the council had treated the brothers in a ‘‘high-handed and extremely shabby’’ fashion.

Within hours of a ‘‘well-known property developer’’ meeting the county manager last June to discuss possible development of the lands, the manager began a process to vary the development plan, to ensure the continued use of the lands as playing fields. The brothers were not informed.

The order claimed the council decision had effectively sterilised the lands, and Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council conceded that its decision last October was unlawful.

A development surveyor told The Sunday Business Post that the proposed variation of the development plan was unlikely to affect the value of residential land in the area, but it would remove the ‘‘hope value’’ of land zoned objective F, reducing its value by around 20 per cent.

A spokesman for the council said: ‘‘Residential density is driven by proximity to planned or existing public transport and the government’s own residential guidelines.” He said that councillors had voted in favour of the variation.

Written submissions must be received by the council’s economic development and planning department before June 16.

Sunday Business Post

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