I spoke this evening with many residents and locals about the Castlelands Master Plan at the Public Information Evening in the community centre located there. Tonight I have made my own submission and below you can read a copy of it. Please feel free to use any portion for your own submission. I have also included a list of bullet points at the end of the piece that reflects the views I have sent as my submission, please feel free to use this as a template for your own submission and email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Submission by Niall Keady, Fianna Fail Candidate for Local Elections-May 2019
To Whom It May Concern
I wish to make the following submission concerning the DRAFT MASTERPLAN FOR CASTLELANDS, BALBRIGGAN CO. DUBLIN (MP4.F).
As a candidate for the upcoming local elections, I have been working closely with the main opposition spokesperson on Housing, Darragh O’Brien, on this proposal. I have also been regularly meeting with the local community groups, attending meetings, taking soundings of nearby residents and noting their views and concerns with regard to the proposal.
These concerns are primarily linked to fears for over-intensification of the site, the total inadequacy of infrastructure leading to and from the site, now and in the future, the design of the housing leading inevitably to anti-social housing and the total absence of life enhancing amenities. Throughout the recent campaign I have taken a considerable interest in this plan which, if elected, I intend to continue until such time as the proposals made for this area are actually welcomed by those living in the area.
The plan aims to introduce over 1,000 homes in 24.2 hectare site, bringing additional infrastructure including a swimming pool, an additional school and a new link road from Balbriggan Church Roundabout to the Skerries Rd. This has the potential to increase the population by more than 4,000 more people.
There is currently a housing crisis with 1000’s of children living in hotels. Our own children will want affordable homes in their own town one day. Trying to stop building progression is like trying to stop the tide and it would be better to focus our attention on ensuring that facilities and amenities are prioritised first, that roads, public transport, schools etc are all more than adequate and these things are done in advance or in tandem with development, not just promised for afterwards. We must insist on foresighted housing planning, on high quality building, and on a good mix of social, affordable and private housing with appropriate densities and green spaces, easy access and so on.
That said, the following are the reasons for this objection against the current masterplan:
- The Masterplan does not contain a schedule of building. The roadways and amenities should be built either in advance or concurrently to the provision of housing. This includes the community centre which will include the long awaited swimming pool and playing pitches serving Balbriggan and Balrothery. This amenity should link to the proposed Balbriggan/Skerries Coastal Way (Greenway), link to Ardgillan and link to the new Stephenstown Roadway and ultimately to the M1.
- Balbriggan has zoned land for 4,500 - 5,000 residential units. This is expected to bring the population from 25,000 to 35,000. There is no local need for this level of housing within Balbriggan which has already seen massive development in recent years and Balbriggan is again being dumped with the social problems of the rest of Dublin.
The town of Balbriggan is currently bigger than the largest town in half of all the counties in the whole country and soon to grow by >60%. What’s being mooted a density of 50 units to the hectare which will comprise of up to 6 storey tall blocks of small flats which will be a poor quality of life for whoever gets put into them. This will simply re-visit the poor decision making exhibited in the late1960’s with the construction of the Ballymun Towers.
- Balbriggan is about to become one of the top 10 largest towns and cities so it should have the services to match. This would not be accepted in other parts of the country, where they would already have or demand hospitals, universities, public transport, sporting stadiums etc. Balbriggan will be bigger than towns that already have ALL of these services and it will have NONE of these services. The Master planners must go back to the drawing boards and think in terms of providing services over and above those already planned for the Castlelands project.
-A comparable initiative is being built in south Dublin is Cherrywood Masterplan where they are to build 4,000 units, however the approach by South Dublin County Council is in stark contrast to Fingal County Council.
- In Cherrywood, public transport in the form of the Luas, was delivered before the development started. Balbriggan is served by rail capacity which is already over capacity. In Cherrywood, the road network is being delivered before the development starts. In Balbriggan, getting in and out of town during commuting times is a nightmare.
-The public parkland which is 163 acres of the total 338 acre site is being delivered before the development starts. The parkland is 48% of the Cherrywood site whereas Castlelands is 8% (of the site of 24 hectares, only 2 hectares is being allocated for parkland). That’s means overcrowding and a concrete jungle for Castlelands.
-In Cherrywood, 4 schools are being delivered as well as, sports pavilion, providing pitches, playground, tennis courts, boules, MUGA, walking and cycling routes as well as 3,000 mature trees. Balbriggan is getting an additional school and an amenity centre with a swimming pool.
-Bringing it closer to home, look at what’s being promised to Donabate in terms of greenway along the estuary linking to Malahide, education and recreational campus and a much lower density of 30 to the hectare compared with 50 to hectare in balbriggan.
- It is not clear how water would be supplied to and waste water taken from this development from a system that is showing its inadequacy and obsolescence on a weekly basis with water outages.
-Buildings should be clustered properly into safe mixed communities in accordance with good 'safety in urban design' principles. However, there are a lot of isolated building developments in loose 'Areas' with open ground in between creating a lot of space in and around the urban realm? This urban layout would create more unintended and elevated crime issues in the future as this has been the experience in other parts of Balbriggan?
In other words, do we want this:
Or something like this
Where every home has
a front door to the street
a front cartilage secured with a wall and railings
car parking in the secure front garden area
car parking that is overlooked from the kitchen or living area
a good sized, secure back garden
secure direct access to the rear garden from the front
good orientation for bright, warm rooms
priority for pedestrians and cars are forced to slow right down
small housing cluster areas with clear identity
proximity within a couple of minutes to a secure, overlooked children’s play area or park
no blank gable ends or areas that are not overlooked and which may facilitate anti-social behaviour.
no easy rat runs, alleyways, concealed or dark areas
parking for visitors provided in off-street parking bays or indents in green areas.
You can also make your opinion known, whatever your view. By focusing on the interests of the common good for proper planning and long-term sustainable development we can ensure Balbriggan town becomes a modern, sustainable town we call all be proud to call home.
You can make a submission to Fingal County Council several ways:
Submissions/Observations may be made in respect of the Draft Castlelands Masterplan Tuesday 7th May 2019 to Tuesday 28th May 2019 (inclusive).
Submissions/Observations may be made as follows:
Click here to send email to email@example.com and make your comment.
In writing to: Senior Executive Officer, Planning and Strategic Infrastructure Department, Fingal County Council, County Hall, Main St., Swords, Co. Dublin, K67X8Y2.
If your have 2 minutes copy and paste the below text which reflect the views I have sent as my submission:
“In relation to the Castlelands Master Plan, these are the issues I feel, as a minimum, must be addressed and take priority during planning of any new development in Balbriggan Town:
Clustered housing for safe mixed and modern communities
Extension of DART
Further development of public transport opportunities
Link road to Skerries Coast road completed.
Leisure facilities to include swimming pool.
Improved cycle & pedestrian access to Argillan Castle & Park.
Balbriggan Front Beach landscaped and modernised including bank to train station.
Greenway Paths to Skerries/Ardgillan and North to Gormanston.
All of the above to be provided before or concurrently to housing development.
Planning for Health facilities to properly serve the needs of the people of North Fingal
Planning for Third Level Education to properly serve the needs of the people of North Fingal.
Adequate transport provision to existing hospitals and universities/IT’s until Health and Third Level Educations are provided
Modernise streets to include more pedestrian zones, street architecture and furniture.
Fair and balanced density of housing.
and email to firstname.lastname@example.org