Tuesday 15 July 2008

Council votes to stop residential building on open spaces

COUNCILLORS IN Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown have voted to close a loophole in their development plan to prevent residential development on open spaces.

The move will prevent developers Cicol Ltd from continuing with a plan to build housing on land known as Dudley's Field, formerly part of the popular urban farm Airfield in Dundrum.

The farm was left in trust to the citizens of Dublin by the Overend sisters. Dudley's Field was controversially sold by the trust to raise funds to enhance the remaining estate.

A Cicol plan to develop 62 apartments and leisure facilities on Dudley's Field was rejected by An Bord Pleanála last October. Last week the High Court upheld the planning board's ruling after the company took a judicial review of the decision.

However, the application was approved in the first instance by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council.

Under the county development plan, many open spaces in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown are zoned Objective F to preserve and provide for open space and recreational amenities. However, residential development is "open for consideration" under the zoning.

It was using this loophole that Cicol was able to apply for residential development to the council.

Last night councillors voted to remove the word "residential" from the list of developments open for consideration under Objective F.

Green councillor Ciarán Fallon said it was very important to close the loophole. "Failure to do so would leave open space zoned F throughout the county vulnerable to development."

He said providing breathing spaces was central to the principle of sustainable development.

Labour's Aidan Culhane said the change was "hugely important" in ensuring that situations such as that at Dudley's Field would not be repeated.

"When this council says 'open space' we mean 'open space'."

The Irish Times


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