Monthly Archives: March 2007

Objection to 5 storey building at Harbour Rd./ 53 Church St.

I have submitted the following objection to the planning application to build an extra 2 stories onto the Porto Fino building between Harbour Road and Church St.
30th March 2007

Planning Department,
Fingal County Council,
Main St.,
Co. Dublin

Re: Planning application F07A/0266

A chairde,

I hereby object to the above application on the following grounds:

The primary objection is the fact that the proposal would block the views of the Harbour and out to sea from the public realm of St. Lawrence’s Road, Howth Terrace, and Dunbo Hill.

The views out from the residential streets of Howth to the Harbour and the sea are an essential element of the character of Howth.  For residents as well as visitors they are vital views, opening the tightly-built streets of the village to the sea. They are of practical significance for people watching activity in the Harbour.  As someone who lives on St. Lawrence’s Road, I know how important the views down to the Harbour are to the local community.   We notice which fishing trawlers are in the Harbour, note the comings and goings of the Asgard 2.  We note the shifting tide levels against the Harbour walls, and the condition of the seas beyond.

The view across no 53 Church St. from Howth Terrace / St. Lawrence’s Road is the only similar view in Howth. Other views down to the Harbour are from a greater distance and don’t look down into the Harbour as steeply.  Abbey St. the other main access route down to the Harbour has no such views.

This view is recognised and protected in the Statement of Character for the Howth Architectural Conservation Area. There is a photograph of it in Figure 10 and it is marked on the annotated map in Figure 14 as a panoramic view.

The Statement of Character says (page 24)    
Preservation of views. The key views out of the village such as those at Howth Terrace, Church Street, Thormanby Road, Main Street Upper and from the Martello Tower should be preserved and any works within the ACA should not adversely impact or block these views.

It is notable that the application contains no assessment of the impact of the proposal on these views.  However, it’s impact is clear and it is in direct breach of this objective.

The Council has already recognised the importance of views from the town to the Harbour in relation to the St. Lawrence Quay apartment development to the east of this site.  In that instance, the Council required that the developer put a break in the building at the location traditionally used as a viewing point out over the Harbour.  (This application is possibly F94A/0362, although I cannot get into this file on the web-based planning system.)

Is mise, le meas,

Cllr. David Healy


Detailed comments for Howth Traffic Management

As part of the input to the consultants working on the traffic and parking management for Howth, I have made comments in particular in relation to ensuring the streets are pedestrian-oriented.  I would be interested in any feedback.  My comments, are below, generally working from West to East and then North to South along the main bus route through the town. 30 km/hr speed limit  

This should start at the Dart Station, at Nashville Park/Thormanby Rd. Junction, and  at Balkill Rd./Balkill Park junction.  This should also be the area within which the roads are examined for design changes.  

Entry to Howth area.

The previous design contained a gateway feature just to the west of the Dart Station. This was removed when a Garda vehicle travelling at speed collided with it.  I note similar complaints are made about the buildout beside the West pier junction, which I refer to in more detail below.  There appears to be a particular issue with the start of any deliberate road narrowing leading into a slower area.  Nonetheless, a design is required which will bring the narrower, slower, more pleasant and pedestrian friendly environment which starts on Harbour Rd at the West pier junction back to the west of the Dart Station.  This will then lead to logical road layout changes outside the Station itself.

Dart Station

A preliminary design needs to be worked up for the open area with bus interchange outside the station for discussion. Technical input on design and landscaping would be of use.  I feel that the kind of open pedestrian oriented layout seen outside the GPO or in Georges’ St. in Dún Laoghaire would be appropriate for an area which as we all know on summer weekends is thronged with pedestrians.

I welcome the information from the Department of the Marine that they are also unhappy with the design of the road/parking to the south of the  platform extension.  The design here now leads to pedestrians walking behind cars parked nose to kerb and distinctly ignores the needs of pedestrians.  This area should be included in the design for in front of the Station.

West pier

I feel that the delineation proposed is likely to increase speeds  At the moment the lack of marking and open layout leads traffic to slow as it travels through the Pier area.  It is clear to all road users including trucks and pedestrians that this is an area of mixed character (fishing trucks, shops, markets, leisure access by foot and by car for walking, visiting restaurants, sailing, angling, viewing seals etc). and that therefore all road users need to exercise caution.

I think that there should be better indication from the design of the entrance to the West Pier that this is the Harbour Area and that a 30km/hr speed limit would be appropriate.

West pier/Harbour Rd. junction

There have been suggestions that existing buildout at Harbour Rd/. West Pier should be removed.and replaced with a curve radius of 15m.  This buildout is the start  (going east) of the slower environment on Harbour Road.  It narrows the carriageway and slows the traffic.   The narrowness is maintained as you move east by parked cars.  This is of particular value to cyclists as it requires cyclists to occupy the lane and thereby facilitates them in turning right up Church Street.  This right turn would be the means of access for cyclists to the main residential areas of Howth.

Harbour Rd. from West Pier to Church St.

At Findlaters, there are tables and chairs on the footpath. This is very welcome, and is exactly what we should be encouraging.   (Of itself, it slows traffic.)  However, the footpath at this location is busy and is too narrow between tables and chairs on one side and car side mirrors on the other.  I suggest it be widened.

Between Findlaters and El Paso, the footpath is wide enough, although there is a terrible slope at one section.  The parking is nose to kerb and I’m concerned about the risk here, particularly as it must be very difficult for someone trying to reverse a car from a parking space to see and judge the speed of traffic coming down the hill on Church St as well as traffic coming around the corner on Harbour Road.  (Is this layout in compliance with the planning permission for this development?)  I wouldn’t like to see a wider carriageway here.

Harbour Rd. from Church St. to East Pier

I feel that this area is mostly a success.

Harbour Rd./Abbey St. junction

I note that the roundabout idea involved– raised pedestrian platforms (not crossings or rights of way?) at entrance to car park and across Harbour Rd. east of roundabout, but nothing on Abbey St.

I feel that the current layout contributes to reducing speeds and preventing motorists turning the corner in a manner which would lead them to collide with anyone crossing the road or with any vehicle stopped in the road.  I think it does this in two ways:

  • requiring traffic coming down the hill to yield to traffic from its left
  • requiring traffic both coming down and going up the hill to negotiate with traffic coming in the opposite direction
  • The proposed design would maintain the requirement to yield.  However, by separating downhill from uphill traffic it would remove the second feature and therefore I think lead to increased speeds and risk.

The main pedestrian route which needs to be provided for at this junction is along the South side of Harbour Road crossing Abbey St.  I’m sure that traffic counts including pedestrian traffic would substantiate this.  The proposed roundabout would deny pedestrians right of way as they cross and further increase by facilitating increased speeds as outlined above.

New car park at East Pier

There have been suggestions of a car park on the green space at the start of the East Pier.  I think that there is adequate total car parking and what is required is parking management.  The green space in question is compacted and the Parks Department has committed to ploughing and reseeding it as well as wider landscaping measures in the area as part of the Promenade Renovation.  The current parking area seems generally appropriate to me.  The only exception are the few spaces just to the east of the current green space which form a bit of a barrier between the open area where the Pier ends and the open space beside it.

In particular the design shown would significantly come across the access to the East Pier.  This area should be included in the plan for renovation as a pedestrian-oriented area ensuring openness to the green space/promenade, the Pier, Balscadden Rd. and the carparking area in front of the Pier House.

Abbey St.

Abbey St. is problematic.  Vehicles which have travelled slowly along Harbour Rd often speed up on Abbey St.  Footpaths are particularly narrow making it somewhat unpleasant for pedestrians and difficult for pedestrians to walk side by side.  I wonder do they comply with accessibility standards for wheelchairs.  I would be interested in proposals for this area.

Abbey St./Church St. junction

Pedestrians coming up Abbey St. find themselves crossing a wide carriageway junction here.  I wonder is there any need to facilitate a left turn from Church St. to Abbey St?  Could the pavement be extended and a pedestrian platform provided here?

Core of Howth

The proposed design was described as “delineating the traffic movements through the area in order to provide a safer environment”.   

There seems to be good evidence (references below) that delineating traffic movements encourages greater speed and less consideration between road users.

A contrary approach would be to assert that this is a pedestrian-oriented area and motorists, cyclists, buses etc. should all be expecting pedestrians to be using the road.  This leads to removing markings etc.

If I understand it correctly this is the design principle behind recent pedestrian-oriented street design such as outside GPO, at George’s St., Dún Laoghaire.  

But it goes further than making a good environment for people to walk through.

The purpose of the streets in the core of Howth is not primarily for movement.  It is a place and the core of the community.  Most times that I am in the centre, I bump into people and stand and talk.  I always see people standing and talking in the centre of Howth.  (This interaction, of course, is the “Social Capital” the Taoiseach is rightly concerned about.)  Contributing to this of course is outdoor seating in front of the Baily Court Hotel (although somewhat obscured by parking.)

The Council cannot and should not look on the centre of the town as primarily a place for moving through or parking vehicles.  It is a place to be in.  It is the shared living room of the community and needs to be treated as such.

At the moment, pedestrians cross Main St. and Thormanby Rd. in a range of locations depending on their destinations.  I am struck by how well Harbour Rd. works:  a combination of zebra crossings and a narrow carriageway leads traffic to travel at a low enough speed so that although most pedestrians use the zebra crossings, it is also possible to cross the carriageway between them.  It would great to have that kind of environment in the core of Howth.

The issue of the nose-to kerb parking outside the Baily Ct. Hotel and lack of a safe pedestrian route at this location also needs to be addressed.

Some references in relation to the above thoughts:
SharedSpace (pdf)
Naked Streets (London Times)
Shared_space (Wikipedia)
Notes on Kensington High Street 1  2,  3

Church of the Assumption

If there is to be an alteration to the current design with the minor carriageway in front of the church, then provision needs to be made for hearses at this location.

Nashville Pk./Thormanby Rd.

Lights at this junction seem appropriate. This is the other entrance to the village and traffic should be made to slow at this location.  More than lights will probably be necessary.  Possibly a narrowing of the carriageway on Thormanby Rd. between Asgard Rd and Nashville Pk. would also be a good idea.  Hatching in the middle of the road does not seem to have much of an effect.

Baldoyle Community Strategy

{mosimage}On 7th March, I formally accepted a copy of the Baldoyle Community Strategy from the Baldoyle Needs Analysis Steering Committee.

The study is comprehensive, coming from a door-to-door filling out of a very detailed questionnaire by the Committee and Philip Land their researcher.  The two main elements I would draw from it are firstly the need for better information flow in the community and secondly the need for better community facilities.  In a number of instances, existing facilities do exist but need to be improved and made available. 

This matches with the results from a similar study done in Howth last year.

The full report is here (hosted by Brian Greene) and Brian’s own comments are here.

Sorry for the delay in posting this; election organising meant it slipped my mind until the likelihood of the facilities in the Pastoral Centre being lost (see next article) reminded me

Concerns about design of new older people housing in Baldoyle

The Council recently agreed to put on public display proposals for residential accomodation for older people and a medical primary care centre, both on Dublin Street, Baldoyle.  Both elements of the development are very welcome.  However, some elements of the design are worrying.  My submission in relation to the design is below, followed by the officials’ summary of the proposal.

In addition, the Pastoral Centre on the site which will be displaced by this development provides space to a range of community facilities. I will be raising the shortage of space in Baldoyle for community and voluntary groups with the Area Committee.
From: David Healy / Daithí Ó hÉalaithe []
Sent: 22 March 2007 15:21
To: Corporate Services; ‘Planning Department’

Subject: Comments in relation to Primary Care Centre and Residential Development, Baldoyle

A chairde,

Unfortunately, I don’t seem to have received a notice of the above going on public display.  I wish to make the following comments and would be grateful to have them forwarded to the relevant person in the Council.

Comments in relation to proposed proposed Primary Care Centre and Residential Development, Baldoyle

I very much welcome the proposed Primary Care Centre and Residential Development. I have a few questions in relation to some of the impacts the proposed design would have on neighbouring areas.

In order to give an adequate understanding of the proposal and of its impact of the proposal on neighbouring houses, the following should be provided:

  • Photomontages of views and overlooking from Turnberry.
  • Photomontages of views from Dublin St.
  • Shadow calculations for Dublin St.
  • Calculations giving basis for the carparking level proposed


Design changes to be considered:

  • 2 storey to North and South edges, 3 storey in centre, in order to minimise overbearing on both sides, overshadowing on North side and overlooking on South side
  • Planting/landscaping on Dublin Street frontage
  • Should Dublin Street frontage run parallel to the street instead of being stepped?
  • Colours – the proposal is for a boring cream façade with grey window frames.  Can this be made more cheerful/interesting?
  • Service road/access ramp should go down asap maximising open space etc.  A grassed road or similar could give emergency/maintenance access to rear of site and around to east

Is mise, le meas,

David Healy


Councillor David Healy
Green Party/Comhaontas Glas
Howth ward / Dublin North East
01 8324087
54, Páirc Éabhóra, Beann Éadair
54, Evora Park, Howth

The summary of the proposal is below.

Proposed development at Dublin Road, Baldoyle
for Cowper Care Centre.

A comprehensive range of residential accommodation for older people and a Primary Care Centre is proposed for the site at Dublin Road, Baldoyle, previously developed and operated by the Christian Brothers.

Cowper Care Centre is a registered not-for-profit organisation which currently operates 5 nursing homes in Dublin and is constructing other developments for older people, including sheltered housing.

The main new buildings form a three-storey complex of three linked blocks.

•    72 Assisted Living bedsitting rooms in 12 groups with communal facilities.
•    Entrance block with atrium incorporating communal facilities on the ground floor and 24 Independent Living apartments, 12 two-bedroom and 12 one-bedroom. on the first and second floor. 12 apartments are two-bedroom and 12 single bedrooms.
•    A series of communal gardens are provided.

The existing St. Mary’s buildings which are proposed for inclusion in the Record of ‘Protected Structures’, will be retained, renovated and converted to 4 apartments and communal accommodation. Other buildings, apart from St. Patricks, will be removed to make way for the new development.

To the rear of St Patrick’s, 14 single-storey two-bedroom houses are proposed, 12 for older people and 2 for people with severe disabilities. The residents will be supported by the facilities and services of the complex.

The main section of the existing St. Patrick’s nursing home will be converted by Cowper Care Centre to accommodate a Primary Care Centre to be leased to the HSE. The Primary Care Centre would have an extensive range of health and community services.  
The existing chapel and mortuary chapel will be retained to serve the residential development

Convergence Sustainable Living Festival

12th Sustainable Living Festival
‘Powering Down Our Communities’
Tuesday 17th to Sunday 22nd | April 2007

The Twelfth Convergence Sustainable Living Festival focuses on the issues of Climate Change and Peak Oil as catalysts of sustainable development. What can we and our communities do to respond to these challenges? Over the years Convergence has provided an important platform for the sharing of best practice, networking and the furthering of sustainable development in Ireland. The atmosphere and intensity of the festival has always been a melting pot for ideas and very apt for the theme of sustainable living.

30km/hr speed limit proposed for residential areas in Baldoyle

Following a Green Party proposal, a 30km/hr speed limit proposal for
residential areas in Baldoyle is on public display.  The proposal
resulted from a study commissioned by Fingal County Council of an area
in Baldoyle and another in Portmarnock.  

Cllr David Healy, local Green Councillor and Dublin North East General Election Candidate commented:

“Lower speed limits mean a much reduced likelihood of accidents.  
Evidence shows that every 1km/hr speeds are lowered should produce a
two to three percent reduction in the number of crashes.They also mean
much better survival rates for pedestrians who do get hit.  Over half
of pedestrians hit at the current urban speed limit of 50 km/hr are
killed.  At 30 km/hr your chance of being killed is less than 10%.

“It has taken a while but I am very pleased that finally we are about to put 30km/hr speed limits in place in residential areas.  From discussions with Baldoyle residents I know they are eager to have this lower speed limit to increase safety on their streets.  

“The Council has agreed to start with these areas in Baldoyle and Portmarnock as pilot areas and extend the speed limits to other areas learning from this experience.  30km/hr speed limits are also under consideration in the traffic management scheme being studied for Howth.”

Copy of public notice below.






Fingal County Council in exercise of the powers conferred on it by Section 38 of the Road Traffic Act 1994 and Section 9(9) of the Road Traffic Act 2004 hereby gives notice that it has prepared a Scheme for the application of 30kph special speed limit and the provision of traffic management measures in Baldoyle.


The roads which are proposed for the implementation of a special speed limit of 30kph include:

–          all roads within the boundaries of Dublin Street, Brookstone Road, Willie Nolan Road and Main Street including Back Lane, Parochial Avenue, Seapoint Avenue, Seapoint Court, College Street and Georgian Hamlet

–          all roads within the Turnberry Estate, Moyclare Estate, Meadowbrook Estate, Parkvale and Tuscany Road, from the junction of Brookstone Road with Willie Nolan Road east along Brookstone Road and onto Dublin Street as far as the junction of Dublin Street with Main Street / The Mall, including the section from College Street intersection with Back Lane south to Dublin Street, Burrowfield Road and James McCormack Gardens.


Traffic calming features which are proposed include:


(a)    Flat top ramps on Burrowfield Road and along Brookstone Lane/Meadowbrook Avenue from the junctions with Dublin Street to parkvale.

(b)   Entry treatments at Turnberry, Dublin Street and Brookstone Road.


The plans and particulars of the Scheme are available for inspection from Wednesday, 14th March, 2007 to Monday, 16th April, 2007 as follows: –


Transportation Department,                             Fingal County Council,

Fingal County Council,                                         Fingal County Hall,

Grove Road,                                                          Main Street,   

Blanchardstown,                                                   Swords,

Dublin 15.                                                             Co.Dublin


Monday-Friday                                             Monday-Friday

9.00a.m. – 5.00p.m.                                        9.00a.m. -5.00p.m.


Baldoyle Library,                                            

Strand Road,                                                       


Dublin 13                                                                                                  


Monday – Thursday        Friday – Saturday

10.00 a.m. -8.30 p.m        10.00 a.m. -5.00 p.m


Submissions or observations with respect to the proposed scheme dealing with the proper planning and development of the area in which the scheme would be situated may be made in writing to Deirdre Sinclair, Transportation Department, Fingal County Council, Grove Road, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15 or email to to arrive no later than 4.00p.m. on Friday, 20th April, 2007.


Climate Change isn’t just a Threat

Here’s a thought-provoking article.  Extract:

"Climate change isn’t just a threat. It’s an opportunity for us to live
happier, more fulfilling lives. The fossil fuel age changed every
detail of western human life – where we lived, how we travelled (and
how much), what we ate, how our economies worked. But there were two
changes in particular that it wrought – huge changes. Changes so huge
they redefine the meaning of huge. One is physical – the sudden onset
of a rapid warming that will change the very geography of the planet in
almost unbelievable fashion over the next century. We live on a
different earth already, and it is going to get worse fast. Way worse.
The other is psychological – cheap fossil fuel tipped the balance in
the modern mind between self as individual and self as member of
community. It made us different people. Worse people. And so here’s the
good news – fighting either problem means fighting them both. We’ve
been backed into a corner, and the only way out is the right way…"

Link below.

Full Article by Bill McKibben in The Ecologist