By Independent Left Councillor John Lyons
So this is the Irish planning system in action: Gannon Homes wants to construct 1,970 residential units in Clongriffin, along with some office and commercial space yet they have lodged three separate planning applications to two different bodies: An Bord Pleanala and Dublin City Council, thus making it a near-impossible task to engage in a proper planning dialogue with regard to the planning vision for the entirety of this area, Clongriffin Town Centre.
The First Strategic Housing Development application is to An Bord Pleanala: 1,030 apartments (352 residential, 678 Build to Rent units), 2 creches, 10 retail units and all associated site works.
The Second Strategic Housing Development application is also to An Bord Pleanala: 500 apartments (235 residential, 265 build to rent), creche and all associated site works.
The third application is to Dublin City Council: The development will consist of the construction of a mixed-use development comprising of 420 apartment units.
This multiple submission tactic completely disadvantages residents, community associations and elected representatives from having their voices heard in the planning system.
It also leads to a sense of fragmentation: our city council Local Area Plan for Clongriffin and the wider Dublin City Development Plan appear lost in this new process.
Who is in charge of taking a wider and longer view of planning in this area? Who ensures that the long-term objectives of creating a sustainable and vibrant mixed-use town in actually achieved here in Clongriffin?
The Strategic Housing Development (SHD) fast-track process is the most anti-democratic move made by Fine Gael, at the behest of property developers, in recent years: any proposals to build 100+ houses or 200+ student accommodation bedspaces bypasses Dublin City Council as the Planning Authority and goes straight to An Bord Pleanála (ABP).
We’ve seen what that means in the radical revision of Dublin City Council’s plans for the Chiver’s Factory site.
Property developers have the government in their pockets: the planning system and thus the city of Dublin is being reshaped in its profit-making image, with a housing and homelessness crisis; a bubble in office construction; a dearth of community and artistic spaces and in the case of Clongriffin, the construction of a soul-less apartment complex-dominated dormitory town rather than the creation of vibrant mixed-use town, as was originally envisaged for this area.
And lastly, in order for your voice to heard in all three of these applications, you will have to cough up 60 euro (20 quid per application). Sure why not?
Not only is our voice drowned out by profit-seeking property developers and their government and civil service cronies but we get fleeced at the same time.