Wednesday 26 October 2016

'Protect the trees', says Ross as he fights plans for over 60 new homes

Transport Minister Shane Ross
Transport Minister Shane Ross

Dublin is suffering a housing shortage, but Transport Minister Shane Ross is fighting plans for over 60 new homes in his constituency.

The TD has "strongly" urged that planning permission be refused for 63 new homes planned near Oatlands College in Mount Merrion for four reasons - including the need to protect local trees.

He said that the nine houses, 24 duplexes and 30 apartments would significantly increase the population in the area without factoring in the impact on local schools.

"If such a development were to proceed it would place further unnecessary pressure on local schools and families," he wrote.

He also said that "numerous" medical centres in the area were no longer accepting new patients due to the high level of demand.

He argued that the development, which would include a children's playground, was too large. He added that part of the site was designated "to protect the preserve trees and woodlands".

"I recognise the ever-pressing need for increasing the number of available housing units in Dublin Rathdown and the Greater Dublin Region as a whole," said Mr Ross.

"However, due to these highlighted reasons, I do not feel that this planning application would assist the pursuit of sustainable development of the Stillorgan area."

He signed the letter as Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport. The minister had recently complained that his Independent Alliance TDs were not formally invited to the launch of the Government's Housing Action Plan.

The planning permission has been sought by Balark Investments, a company associated with developer Greg Kavanagh.

Other local representatives to object to the development include councillor Deirdre Donnelly, who works closely with Mr Ross.

She said the development was not in keeping with existing houses and could lead to flooding.

"I would like to state that I am not opposed to development of homes be they houses or apartments.

"I feel however that a more holistic approach to planning in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown is needed where planning permission is granted based on the needs of the community and the services in the area," she said.


Fine Gael Councillor Barry Saul said it would be "visually obtrusive and would be out of character with the area".

"A trend is emerging where the council planners are forcing developers to increase density by a large factor ... against the wishes of the democratically-elected council," he said.

Former Fianna Fail senator Mary White said the plan was "totally incompatible" with the area.

"I can honestly say that I have never seen such passion and distress being caused by this development proposal of Balark Investments," she wrote.

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