AN BORD Pleanála has approved a masterplan for the development of more than 11,500 new homes at Clonburris, in west Dublin, with its chairman describing it as a model of "superb planning" for the future of Ireland.
The masterplan was prepared by South Dublin County Council for the Clonburris Strategic Development Zone (SDZ).
Clonburris is envisaged as a major new "eco-district" with a range of significant and innovative environmental sustainability measures in terms of transport, energy use, carbon reduction and the conservation of biodiversity.
It is the fourth SDZ planning scheme to be approved in Ireland and the second in the council's area after Adamstown.
All facilities are to be provided on a phased basis over 15-20 years.
The majority of the SDZ lands are owned by large established developers. In addition to having the role of development agency for Clonburris, the county council is also a minor landowner in the area. Approval of the masterplan means that applications in compliance with it will be granted planning permission and those that are not will be refused, with no provision for appeal.
It is estimated that Clonburris could be home to 35,000 people in the future. Although some of the land has been zoned for development since 1972, it is only in recent years that the area has been made accessible by road and rail.
The area, now consisting entirely of green fields, is located alongside both the Grand Canal and the Kildare commuter line.
According to plans drawn up by the Railway Procurement Agency, it would also be served by Metro West in the future.
One of the conditions laid down by Bord Pleanála is that the masterplan will by modified to accommodate Metro West after a railway order is made for this project, linking Tallaght with Ballymun via Clondalkin and Blanchardstown.
It said this condition was required "to provide for necessary flexibility for the future provision of Metro West, and to ensure successful integration of transport systems forming a coherent and sustainable form of development".
In its ruling, the board said it considered that the masterplan would provide for the comprehensive planning and development of the site "in accordance with the nature and scale required under the SDZ designation".
It also specified that an "urban form development framework" should be drawn up for Clonburris town centre, given that the land was owned by different parties.
It also said that a biodiversity action plan should be prepared for the area - in consultation with relevant national and local wildlife authorities, including the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
The Irish Times