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'I support building houses': Fine Gael TD stands over concerns about 366 new homes in his constituency

Bernard Durkan was among 61 people to make an observation about the new scheme.

An artist's impression of the development at Capdoo in Kildare
An artist's impression of the development at Capdoo in Kildare
Image: Capdoo Residential Development

FINE GAEL TD Bernard Durkan insists he did not object to a housing development which was recently given planning permission in his constituency despite raising concerns about the proposal to An Bord Pleanála.

The 366-unit strategic housing development at Capdoo near Clane in Co Kildare was given the green light by the planning authority earlier this month, despite the reservations of Durkan and 60 other local residents.

Locals claimed that the proposed scheme would be contrary to the Clane local area plan, and that its height and density would be out of character with the town.

There were further concerns that the development did not have enough parking spaces, that balconies on some of its apartments would be used for storage in full view of passers by, and that it would devalue neighbouring properties.

And locals also believed the scheme would negatively impact those already living in Clane, claiming local schools and medical services in the town are at capacity.

Commenting on his own submission, Durkan claimed he had encouraged the construction of houses in the past and said that he and locals were not against the proposed scheme per se.

“I’ve been supportive of building houses for people in the past, when others may not have been,” he told TheJournal.ie.

“The community was concerned about the development because the site it will be constructed on was lying idle for some time, and suddenly things started moving.

“You need open space, footpaths, and parking where apartment blocks are concerned. You have to accommodate all of the people who are living there. Friends and neighbours might come along and want somewhere to park, for example.

“We also want the development to be as aesthetically pleasing as possible to the area – you don’t want a tall building standing out in the middle of a load of bungalows.”

In her report, planning inspector Fiona Fair said that she was satisfied the overall assessment of the area provided by developer Ardstone Homes was acceptable.

An Bord Pleanála directed the developer to mitigate traffic concerns by constructing a new road, but agreed that the development would not seriously injure the residential or visual amenity of the area.

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The development was granted permission on 20 September, but Durkan said he had not yet seen the conditions which the authority had attached to it, repeating that locals were not opposed to the scheme.

“The only thing we have an objection to are its layout, density and ancillary facilities,” he said.

“Not everybody will agree with respect of any proposals, but all one can do is do the best one can.”

Construction on the development is expected to begin in coming months.

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