Submission to An Bord Pleanála on houses at Abbey St./Church St.

I have made a submission supporting the appeals against this development.

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

Re: Fingal County Council Reg. Reg 1684, junction of Abbey Street and Church Street, Howth

A chairde,

I refer to the appeals by Dougal Cousins and Deirdre I Lacy in relation to this application and wish to make the following submission.  I enclose the fee of €50.

I support the grounds of those appeals.

I refer the Board to it’s welcome previous decision in relation to this site PL06F.211025.  

Since then, there Conservation Research Officer has done considerable work in relation to the Statement of Character for the Howth Architectural Conservation Area. It may be useful to An Bord Pleanála to have direct access to that research itself.

The corner building which is a well-known and loved Howth landmark should not only be retained, but should also remain the dominant part of the complex of buildings as one approaches the junction from the south.

Church Street is in many respects a street of even greater architectural character than Abbey Street.  The proposal to have a blank wall facing onto this important street is unacceptable.  The street frontage to Church Street should be of terraced buildings. Given the variations in road level etc. and the need to keep the corner building as the dominant building, the height of these buildings to the street will have to be limited.  However, to the inside they could be higher given the slope.

The proposal to provide perpendicular car parking spaces at ground level on the other side of Church St., across the footpath, is an attack on the urban character of Church St.   Howth is a historic area dating from well before the era of the automobile.  An inherent part of its character, held dear by the people of Howth, is it’s pedestrian-oriented scale and it’s walkability.  To provide car-parking in this manner, on the inside of the footpath breaks the visual division between carriageway and footpath and represents an encroachment onto what should rightly be the building line, or in the alternative a garden area.

The inclusion of a gated car park access on Abbey Street undermines the amenity value of the street.  

Fingal County Council and the Department of the Marine maintain public car parks for hundreds of cars on the Harbour Road, at the East Pier, and on the West Pier, which are available for residents of Howth who do not have their own off-street parking spaces.

Almost all the adjoining houses are without car parking  .It would not be in any way exceptional in most countries to provide that houses in an architectural conservation area should be built without car parking in keeping with their neighbours.  The same should apply here. This is especially the case given that this site is well served by public transport.

The width of the footpath on Abbey Street is inadequate and dangerous.  It should be widened at this location either, ideally, by narrowing the carriageway or by setback of any new buildings being provided.

Given that a number of the issues raised above and in the appeals could not be addressed by way of conditions,  I urge you to refuse the application.

Is mise, le meas,

Cllr. David Healy