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Planning watchdog warns of negative impacts of numerous developments in south Dublin on M50 and Luas line

The OPR has criticised a new draft development plan by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council.

Image: PA

MULTIPLE DEVELOPMENTS IN a concentrated area of south Dublin could have adverse effects on the M50 and Luas in the area, according to the State’s planning watchdog.

The Office of the Planning Regulator (OPR) has criticised a new draft county development plan prepared by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council.

The document states it will continue to facilitate the development of extensive lands in Ballyogan, Carrickmines, Kiltiernan, Glenamuck and Cherrywood.

But it warned such development is likely to have a negative impact on strategic traffic infrastructure such as the M50, its junctions at Sandyford and Carrickmines and the Luas green line.

Transport Infrastructure Ireland had also raised concerns about the level of traffic likely to be generated from future developments in those areas because of its need to safeguard the M50’s capacity for strategic trips of high economic value.

TII said capacity issues already evident at the two junctions could be exacerbated by relatively minor increases in traffic volumes which could lead to significant congestion on the M50 as well as the surrounding road network.

The OPR said the council had not addressed the issue of the need to upgrade the M50 and Luas green line in preparing the draft plan or made any detailed assessment of traffic levels likely to be generated by such development.

The regulator also criticised what it claims are plans by the council to rezone excessive amounts of land for housing.

The OPR said the population and housing supply targets being set by the council exceed the amount necessary to facilitate growth over the lifetime of the plan which will run up to 2028.

The regulator has predicted that, if unchanged, the plan would rezone lands for more than 6,800 homes above the 15,000 it estimated are needed.

The OPR regulator said the draft plan would potentially undermine national and regional policy objectives for compact growth.

The council has been issued with a total of nine recommendations by the OPR which signal issues where the regulator believes it is in clear breach of either Government policy or the national or regional policy framework.

They cover areas such as a tiered approach to zoning, sustainable transport and compact growth.

While the OPR said lands zoned for residential development were generally well located, it expressed concern that there was still excessive zoning around Rathmichael which it described as “an unserviced area characterised by very low density suburban style housing on large sites with onsite septic tanks.”

The regulator said such rezoning “would appear to continue a pattern of sprawl on the periphery.”

Further extensive residential zoning at Old Connaught west of the N11 on the Wicklow border was also criticised given the area suffers from major infrastructural deficits which are unlikely to be significantly improved by 2028, according to the OPR

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The regulator has directed the council to omit an objective of the draft plan which aims to prevent any increase in residential development in areas along the DART line corridor in Dalkey and Killiney.

The OPR said such an objective on lands which were located along a high capacity public transport corridor in Dublin was contrary to government policy.

OPR deputy regulator, Anne Marie O’Connor, said the objective placed “an unnecessary restriction on sustainable development.”

Ms O’Connor also questioned proposals by the council to zone lands identified as at risk from flooding in Rathmichael, Old Connaught, and Carrickmines as well as parts of Deansgrange and Shanganagh for vulnerable uses.

Under legislation, the council’s chief executive is obliged to provide an explanation to the OPR if it does not accept the regulator’s recommendations.

The OPR can make recommendations to the Minister of State for Planning and Local Government, Peter Burke, to direct the local authority to make changes to its development plans.

About the author:

Seán McCárthaigh

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