Category Archives: Other / eile

Motions to amend Kinsealy Local Area Plan

Having received the Chief Executive’s report on the public consultation on the draft LAP, I am not happy with the lack of progress on connecting Kinsealy to neighbouring areas especially to Portmarnock railway station and I’m proposing the following four amendments to the Plan:

Motion 1

That in response to recommendations received, including from the Department of Housing Planning and Local Government, the LAP be amended to include the following in section 11:

The full segregated cycle and pedestrian link to Old Portmarnock/ R124 to provide access to Portmarnock train station shall be provided as part of the first phase of further development under the Kinsealy Local Area Plan.

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Design problems on Kilbarrack to Sutton coastal promenade

In May 2015 I proposed this motion:

“That the Chief Executive and Council remove all obstacles on the Coastal cycle route from Sutton to the Kilbarrack Road and bring forward a senstive design for providing lighting to the shadowed area of the cycle track and to remove the hazard posed by steps which cut into the track.”

Since then I have heard of collisions on the route due in particular to the lighting problem. Last month, April 2017, i raised the issue again:

Councillor D. Healy – Kilbarrack to Sutton Cycle Route. AI036623
“That the Chief Executive report on progress in relation to addressing the design flaws in the cycle route from Kilbarrack Road to Sutton including lighting, obstacles and steps as discussed at this Committee in May 2015 and October 2016.”

Report:
The cycletrack is due to be widened in the coming months by altering the lining. The bins will be moved out of the cycletrack and on to the footpath. The lining will be designed around the larger poles and the steps to guide bicycles around them.

Minute:
Following discussion Mr. Stephen Peppard, Senior Executive Officer agreed to have the potential issues around the lighting examined by the Public Lighting Section and that further discussions would take place with the Traffic Engineers regarding the steps.
If you have direct or indirect experience of the difficulties caused by the current design, please let me know.

Fingal to join Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, and to draft common Climate Change Strategy with other 3 Dublin Councils

Councillors from all areas of Fingal and all parties have emphasised the importance of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from Fingal and adapting to climate change. We included relevant  objectives in the draft Development Plan which was on display earlier this year and had good in depth discussions at the Planning Strategic Policy Committee.

At the July meeting the Council decided unanimously to join the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy and to prepare a common Climate Change Strategy together with Dublin City, South Dublin, and Dún Laoghaire- Rathdown.

Details are in the report approved by the Council below:

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Where do you swim? Public Participation in the Identification of Bathing Waters

Under the Bathing Waters Directive and the Bathing Water Quality Regulations 2008 (SI No 79 of 2008) Fingal County Council must identify official bathing areas in our administrative area every year so that they can be monitored for safety, water quality and their level of use.

To help with this process, Fingal County Council is now asking people who swim at beaches and rivers to tell us if they think we should maintain the existing list of identified bathing waters and/or identifying any areas that are commonly used for swimming but not listed at the moment.

Among the popular swimming areas in Howth / Malahide Ward not currently recognised and tested as bathing waters are Balscadden Beach  in Howth and High Rock and Low Rock in Malahide. If you swim at these locations, please let the Council know.

To propose the Council recognise any well used beach not currently on the list or comment on an existing site please go to https://consult.fingal.ie/en/browse .

Meanwhile the occasional tests carried out by the Council at Balscadden and Ireland’s Eye happened again at the end of June. Both locations were identified as having excellent water quality. See results below.

Location Sampling Point Sample Number E. coli Enterococci Floating Materials Mineral Oil (visual) pH Phenols_Olfactory Salinity Surfactants Visual Inspection
MPN/100ml CFU/100ml pH PSU
(49934)  Balscadden Bay 27/06/2016  08:30 1163999 <10 <1 Absent Absent 8.1 Absent 33.4 Absent Normal
(49935)  Ireland’s Eye 27/06/2016  09:30 1164000 <10 <1 Absent Absent 8.1 Absent 33.5 Absent Normal

Proposals in Malahide Demesne for a Forest Adventure Area and an Extension to the Bridgefield Car Park

Late last year a proposal was brought before the Councillors for a “Forest Adventure Area and Multi-use Reinforced Grass Area.”

In principle I think a canopy walk or similar somewhere in Malahide Demesne could be an excellent proposal. However it would depend on the design and details of the proposal including its environmental impact and its impact on park users.

That information is not available because it doesn’t yet exist.

I pointed out the inadequacies in the information supplied at the December Area Committee meeting, saying I expected that detailed information would be in the proposal put on public display. I didn’t receive a reply to that comment at the meeting and unfortunately it didn’t happen. I also pointed out that they proposal appeared to be two separate and distinct proposals and suggested they be put to consultation separately. The joint proposal was nonethless put on display as presented to the Councillors:

So I checked the applicable legislation to establish what is legally required to be put on display.   The regulations provide as follows:

83.(1) A local authority shall make available for inspection in accordance with article 81(2)(d)(i)—

(a) a document describing the nature and extent of the proposed development and the principal features thereof, including-

(i) where the proposed development would consist of or comprise the provision of houses, the number of houses to be provided,

(ii) where proposed development would relate to a protected structure or a proposed protected structure, an indication of that fact,

(iii) where the proposed development would comprise or be for the purposes of an activity requiring an integrated pollution control licence or a waste licence, an indication of that fact,

(b) a location map, drawn to a scale of not less than 1:1000 in built up areas and 1:2500 in all other areas (which shall be identified thereon) and marked or coloured so as to identify clearly the land on which it is proposed to carry out the proposed development,

(c) except in the case of development of a class specified in article 80(1)(b) or (c),—

(i) a site layout plan, drawn to a scale of not less than 1:500, showing the boundary of the site on which it is proposed to carry out the proposed development and the buildings or other structures, and roads or other features, in the vicinity of the site, and

(ii) such other plans and drawings, drawn to a scale of not less than 1:100, as are necessary to describe the proposed development,

(d) in the case of development of a class specified in article 80(1)(b), such plans and drawings drawn to a scale of not less than 1:2500, as are necessary to describe the proposed development,

(e) in the case of development of a class specified in article 80(1) (c), such plans and drawings drawn to a scale of not less than 1:200, as are necessary to describe the proposed development.

The requirements which I have highlighted in bold have not been met.

At the May Area Committee meeting I asked the officials to confirm that the above is the applicable legislation, which they did. The Committee then agreed to my proposal to ask the Law Agent for advice, to be received before the June meeting. As of today (Monday 30th May) that advice has not yet been received by the Councillors.

The Parks Department have confirmed that they are trying to get an approval before the design is done.

It is clear to me that it would not be legal for the Councillors to give Part 8 approval to a project which hasn’t been designed and for which the information required to be put on public display has not been made available. I will be most surprised if the Law Agent advises otherwise.

It may be less convenient, but the correct procedure, as for any one else making another type of planning application, is to produce a design, put that design on display and make a decision on the basis of the design and the public consultation.

As for the Car Park extension, this was originally presented to Councillors as a multi-use area. It later became clear from the Planning Department that they see it as a car park extension. Such a proposal should only be considered, if at all, in the context of overall changes to traffic and parking in the town – which to date have not been proposed.

UPDATE 31st May:

This afternoon the Councillors received the Law Agent’s advice which sets out the legal requirements which have not been met and warns that going ahead with the project would be vulnerable to legal challenge. I expect that the current process will be abandoned.

I hope the Parks Department will continue to work on the idea of a forest adventure area with a view to coming up with a clear proposal which everyone would welcome.

UPDATE 1st July:

The Councillors at the June Howth/Malahide Area Committee voted 5 to 3 against approving the project, all of the majority asking for the two proposals to be separated from each other and for proper design and analysis to be done on the forest adventure area, which we all would like to see in principle.

The Parks Department have indicated that notwithstanding the vote at the Area Committee, they will be asking the full Council meeting on 11th July to approve the project.

County Development Plan open to Public Consultation from today

Fingal County Council’s draft County Development Plan 2017-2023 is on display for public consultation from today until 4.30pm on 29th April.  The draft Plan is online and available in all Fingal libraries. There will also be public meetings as part of the consultation process.

There are a number of aspects of the plan which need to be changed to bring it more into line with a transition to a sustainable low-carbon climate resilient Fingal. I will be working to make these changes.

The next stage of the plan will be to consider the response to the public consultation at a series of meetings in the Autumn.

Submission on railway timetable consultation

I have made the following response to Iarnród Éireann’s public consultation on proposed new timetables.

The increase in service frequency on the Dart and other routes is very welcome. However, I am concerned about some aspects of the timetable changes proposed.

1. The timetable planning process

I asked about the use of the National Transport Authority’s transport model to evaluate this timetable change. Iarnród Éireann’s reply is that the model is used only to evaluate infrastructure changes rather than timetable changes. It is my understanding that the model includes information on interchange and intermodal trips and therefore could be used to evaluate timetable changes including the breaking of existing connections such as are proposed.

2. Interchange between rail and rail and between rail and bus

I am concerned that the timetable is not designed to facilitate interchange between rail lines or between rail and bus. The essential aspect of a quality public transport system is that it operates as a network not simply a collection of non-integrated lines.

At the moment, connections between the Howth line and the Malahide /Drogheda line are irregular, with some connections offering a reasonable interchange time and others offering a time too short or too long. Many Drogheda trains stop at Howth Junction giving access both to the Howth line and to the orbital 17a bus route which travels from Howth Junction Station across the Northside as far as Blanchardstown.

The proposed timetable has a number of negative aspects as regards interchange:

2a No interchange with Drogheda trains at Howth Junction

This proposed timetable no longer has Drogheda trains stopping at Howth Junction, meaning a trip from Donabate to Beaumont (by train and bus) or to Howth (by train) or vice versa would require two changes, not one, a significant drop in service.

2b Long waits for interchange between Howth and Malahide line trains.

The timing of trains through Howth Junction means that passengers between Howth line stations and Malahide line stations will have an interchange of 20 minutes. Such a wait in an unwelcoming station is long enough to deter many passengers. As mentioned above, it is my understanding that the NTA’s model could be used to explore how this timetabling would affect the quality of the trip for passengers and the relative desirability of public transport compared to other modes.

Irish Rail should copy the practice of other railway companies, such as the Swiss Federal Railways, who provide standard interchange times of 6 minutes for non-adjacent platforms.

3. Services to Portmarnock and Clongriffin

It is proposed that Drogheda trains will no longer stop at Portmarnock and Clongriffin. This will particularly affect peak hours with a reduction in the current frequency and the loss of some faster trains from these stations to the city centre. Given the role of Portmarnock in particular as a park and ride, some of these halts should be retained, especially at peak hours.

4. Bus timetables

Please confirm that Dublin Bus will adjust the timetables of connecting services such as the 102 and 17a to provide timely interchange with the new rail timetable.

Reponse to Development Levy consultation

I made the following response to the Public Consulation on Development Levies in Fingal.

  1. The list of projects ​in Appendix II to be funded by the scheme should include the following:
  2. ​The costs in Appendix I should be adjusted accordingly.
  3. The proposal is that development contribution rates​ remain unchanged. This is predicted to lead to a shortfall of €31m or about 10%. If this happens then infrastructure which we have identified as essential will be unfunded. This is not acceptable; the Scheme should provide for full funding of the required infrastructure.
  4. Commercial/industrial and residential development are levied at different rates. When I asked why this was I was told because they require different levels of infrastructural expenditure. In fact the commercial/industrial rate is simply 78% of the residential rate for all of the types of infrastructure (transport, surface water, parks) to be funded. That this is not related to the associated infrastructure cost is demonstrated by the fact that the same surface area of development attracts different charges for provision of surface water infrastructure depending on whether its residential or commercial. At a first glance it seems daft that at a time of housing demand in Dublin and when we have large quantities of derelict/empty commercial property we would effectively subsidise commercial at the expense of the residential.Therefore the same contribution should be required for commercial/industrial and for residential.
  5. Car parking is proposed to be either exempt, or in the case of ‘stand-alone commercial car parks’ levied at 50%​ (10(i)(j))​. Given that transport policy both nationally and locally seeks to achieve significant and rapid modal shift away from cars, all car parking should pay development contributions at the normal rate.