Monthly Archives: January 2008

Material Contravention for Edros site approved

Today, the Council voted by 20 votes to 3 to approve the material contravention for the Edros site.  I and my Green colleagues supported the proposal, as did the other two Howth ward Councillors.  The proposal enables the development of residential housing and a café on this amenity-zoned site.  Normally I would not accept that an amenity site could be used for residential development.  However, in this instance an alternative site for a major new community facility has been identified and €2million is to be paid by the developer towards the construction of a new community facility on that site.

The agreed site is as part of the overall site at Baltray between
Baltray Park and the Techcrete/Teelings site, including the City
Council-owned depot.  The City Council has committed to transfer the
depot site and that gives sufficient space for a major community
facility.  However, the Planning Department is committed to working
with the Techcrete site developer to incorporate the community facility
into the overall development in the most appropriate manner.  This will
mean maximising accessibility from the Dart station and the town of
Howth and also taking advantage of the potential for a link across the
railway line to Baltray beach.

The Edros site was the site of a community facility which operated from the 1970s until the 1990s, when it became insolvent and was sold to a private developer to pay its creditors.  Since then it has lain derelict.

Until Friday I felt that the plans for community facilities were not sufficiently advanced to enable Councillors to support the proposed Edros material contravention.  I have been communicating this to Council officials for about a year, including by objection to the planning file and up to last Friday fully expected to be opposing the material contravention vote today.

I do appreciate that some Howth residents are unhappy about the design of the proposal. I have never seen this as the main objection.  I do feel the design is of a high architectural quality and I’m hopeful that it will work out well.

The other consideration raised today was a suggestion that the €2million was not enough of a contribution.  This hadn’t been put to me before and on balance I think it’s probably correct – we probably should have sought more money for the community facilities.  However, €2 million was an increase on what was previously on offer and on balance I think our decision was a good one.

I enclose below the email I sent to the Council officials and my fellow Howth ward councillors which gives I think the full picture of our discussions on Friday.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: David Healy / Daithí Ó hÉalaithe <>
Date: Jan 11, 2008 7:33 PM
Subject: Community facilities in Howth, Edros site
To: Pat Queenan <>, Peter Caulfield <>, Gilbert Power <>, Jmaher <>, Michael Joe Cosgrave <>

Dear Pat, Peter, Gilbert, Joan, Michael Joe,

Thank you for the constructive discussion today and the work that has been done in the background.  It is encouraging that progress has been made to a degree which honestly i hadn’t expected.

I am hopeful that we will be able to come to an agreement on Monday.  I just wanted to make a note of the basis on which our discussions today indicated we are likely to come to an agreement.

   1. The agreed site for the major community facility is in the Baltray area between the tennis courts and Teelings (inclusive).   This is agreed by the Penfacs committee, the County Manager, and, hopefully on Monday, the elected Council.
   2. The City Manager will commit to proposing to his Council to transfer the Baltray depot site to the County Council subject to the condition that either it is to be used for community facilities itself or it is to be incorporated in an overall development site within which at an area at least as big would be dedicated to community facilities.
   3. The applicant for the Edros site will commit to a €2m contribution to these community facilities in the light of the fact that their development is on an amenity-zoned site used up to now for community facilities.  This contribution will be paid in instalments over 2 years from the granting of the material contravention even if the development takes longer to complete.
   4. The Council’s Planning and Community Departments, the team working on the Urban Centre Strategy, and Penfacs will liaise with the Techcrete site owner in relation to integration of the community facility in the overall site between the tennis courts and Teelings and in relation to the level of contribution to the community facility from the Techcrete development itself. The Community Department will continue to work with Penfacs to progress the plans and will report back to the Area Committee regularly.

It would be important for the documentation for points 2 and 3 to be supplied and for points 1 and 4 to be reflected in the Manager’s Report, in order to form a solid basis for the Council’s vote.

Yours, optimistically,


Objection to Stapolin Phase 5 development

I have objected to Phase 5 of the Stapolin development which is much higher than provided for in the Area Plan and severed from the new Millennium Park.  The parking levels will lead to traffic generation which will block all roads in the area.  These are consistent complaints in relation to recent phases of this development and all of the above complaints are breaches of the County Development Plan.

                                                      Cllr David Healy
                                                      Green Party/Comhaontas Glas
                                                      Howth ward/ Ceantar Bhinn Éadair
                                                      54, Páirc Éabhóra,  
                                                      Beann Éadair,
                                                      Co. Bh.Á.C.
                                                      087 6178852
                                                     8th January 2008

Planning Department,
Fingal County Council,
Main St.

Co. Dublin
Re: Stapolin Development Phase 5, F07A/1561

A chairde,  

I wish to make the following observations on the above application.

I am one of the local Councillors statutorily responsible for the adoption of the County Development Plan and Local Area Plan which Fingal County Council is legally bound to implement as well as the Area Action Plan adopted before the 2000 Planning Act was fully brought into force.  The local community and we as Councillors put great effort into determining the forward planning documents for this site.  We believe that informed dialogue and shared analysis improves the plan and the resulting developments.  

The conditions set out in advance in the Area Action Plan are being disregarded in this application.  Indeed it appears that having succeeded in getting a decision to grant permission for breach of the conditions of the Action Plan in their last application, (F06A/0671), they are now seeking an even greater breach in this application.  The applicant says “There are many examples of heights exceeding those projected in the Action Plan and Masterplan…”

I should also point out that the various references to the Masterplan in the application are to a document which has not status and was not subject to any public consultation nor approval by Councillors or through any planning process.

My particular concerns are as follows.


The original height limit in the area plan was 5 storeys, yet the decision provides for 9 storey buildings.  This is not acceptable in particular in terms of visual impact on the area.  These new high buildings will be visible across this low-lying area, including from existing houses and gardens in Baldoyle and the green belt/proposed public park which is in a designated sensitive landscape.  In addition, a 5 storey limit is an appropriate limit for energy conservation and adaptation to climate change. (see Roaf, S. et al., 2004, Adapting Buildings and Cities for Climate Change: A 21st Century Survival Guide).
Split between houses and apartments

The plan will lead to a further breach of the overall 60/40 split between houses and apartments planned for the area

Internal overshadowing of public and private open space

One of the knock-on consequences of the breaches of the height limits is the overshadowing of public and private open space.  The overshadowing from buildings of this height will be severe.


The total extent and quantity of development proposed will, unless measures are taken to restrict motor traffic, generate levels of private car traffic which will exceed the capacity of the local road network in Baldoyle, Donaghmede and Sutton.   

One logical approach would be to restrict the quantum of car parking on site to levels which would consequently keep traffic levels within the capacity of the road network.  This would apply to all the forms of development on site, offices, retail and residential, and would require that traffic management plans be drawn up for implementation both before and after the streets are taken in charge.   

Instead, what is proposed is 2 car parking spaces per dwelling.  This is in breach of the requirements of the County Development Plan (Policy TP4, Objective TO6 and Table 6.2) which specifies maximum car parking of 1 to 2 per unit, depending variously on design, dwelling size, access to public transport and local facilities.   

In an area with a significant proportion of small units, good public transport access and local facilities in walking distance, and what should be pedestrian-oriented street design, providing 2 spaces per unit is clearly in excess of the maximum.
Street and Road Design

Detailed street and road design should prioritise public transport, walking and cycling in an effective manner.  Unfortunately the detailed design in relation to the previous planning applications as part of this overall development has not done this and has breached both the Design Manual for cycling facilities, good engineering practice and common sense.  The conditions imposed in previous permissions clearly were not good enough.

Roundabout on Coast Road

The most striking instance of this is the roundabout on Coast Road.  This roundabout was constructed without approval by the Council under the relevant planning permission and this therefore unauthorised. Contrary to the assertions in the EIS ( the roundabout does not provide high quality facilities for pedestrians and the mobility impaired as it makes no meaningful provision for crossing the carriageway at this location.  This location also includes marked cycle facilities on the footpath which do not comply with either the statutory requirements for cycle tracks or the Provision of Cycling Facilities | National Manual for Urban Areas.”

Millenium Park including fencing off of the Park

The application claims that the development of the Park is occuring / to occur “in accordance with compliance details already agreed with Fingal County Council, on foot of conditions attached to planning permissions attached to planning permissions granted for Phase 1(F02A/0921; PL06F.201400) and the infrastructural development planning permission (F03A/1520;PL 06F.208508)”

In fact, no planning permission has been applied for or granted which covers the area of the Millennium Park and therefore any work in this area is being carried out without planning permission.  A condition requiring the submission of plans for the park does not amount to a permission to carry out work.

I am particularly concerned at the proposal in this application to erect a 2m fence around the park, severing it from the neighbouring residential area, preventing the use of the park as a pedestrian and cyclist route through the overall area, and reducing informal surveillance, thereby increasing the likelihood of anti-social behaviour in the Park.  Proper urban design would promote of access to the Park and maximising its availability as a through-route for local pedestrians and cyclists.

Is mise, le meas,  


Cllr. David Healy


€20 planning fee enclosed.