THE COMPANY best known for building motorways, Siac, has run into opposition from the National Roads Authority over the company’s plans for a major development at its former quarry in Clondalkin, west Dublin.
Formerly known as the South of Ireland Asphalt Company, Siac sought a 10-year permission for a mixed-use scheme consisting of 380 apartments, six retail units, a cafe/restaurant and 24,259sq metres of office space on the 16-acre site off Monastery Road.
The Monastery Gate Action Group claims the Siac site, which is located near the M50’s Red Cow roundabout, was where Brian Boru and his army camped before the Battle of Clontarf in 1014 and lies at the entrance to the monastic site of Clondalkin.
The site is currently used as a manufacturing and supply facility for asphalt and the storage of ancillary plant and machinery.
With a drop of up to 9m due to previous quarrying, it is said to be “well screened by a variety of mature trees”.
Recommending a refusal, the authority said the proposed development would generate excessive queuing and delays at the Monastery Road/N7 overbridge junction, which could potentially lead to tailbacks on the N7 and increase the risk of traffic accidents.
However, South Dublin County Council decided to approve an amended version of the scheme, saying it was broadly in line with a development brief approved by the council in November 2007 – even though some 50 objections were received, mainly from local residents.
It was also opposed by several public representatives in the area, including Paul Gogarty TD (Green Party), Senator Frances Fitzgerald (Fine Gael) and Cllr Robert Dowds (Labour).
Mr Gogarty, in his submission, said it should be “rejected in its entirety”.
Following the council’s adoption of the an action plan for the Clonburris Strategic Development Zone, to the north of Clondalkin, Mr Gogarty said there would be an “adequate residential supply coming on stream in the general Clondalkin area for the next 30 years”.
Under the Siac scheme, designed by architects O’Mahony Pike, three levels of basement parking for up to 1,500 cars would be installed in the former limestone quarry, and two of St Brigid’s Cottages would be demolished to provide a new road access to the site.
In his submission, Mr Dowds objected to the development of so many apartments in blocks up to eight storeys high, saying it would be “bad for social cohesion in this part of Clondalkin” as most would probably be occupied by tenants on the council’s housing list.
The council’s planners considered that the scheme originally proposed “would constitute overdevelopment of the site and would result in a poor-quality environment for future residents, particularly for families” and recommended the omission of 23 apartments.
It is expected that many of the objectors will now lodge appeals with An Bord Pleanála against the council’s decision, which specified that the planning permission should have a standard life of five years rather than the 10 years originally sought by Siac.