My name is Cllr Francis Timmons Clondalkin Independent Councillor , I have no background in planning , I have a honors degree in disability but I have lived over 40 years of my life in Clondalkin , I grew up and now live relatively near the Clonburris Lands. We in Clondalkin are left with a legacy of bad planning and corruption , and a national housing crisis that has effects many citizens in Clondalkin and south Dublin county council that extends through social, affordable and private housing requirements.  I attended 36 ½ hours SDZ Council meetings and My arguments have never been against housing or indeed building on the Clonburris Lands.

We were left with promises of community facilities that took decades to deliver and some that we still wait for today i.e. the likes of Banakelly community space in Newcastle and Orchard Lane community space in Clondalkin that where to be delivered in tangent with housing. People are sceptical of planning and planners. We are left with the legacy of bad planning in the area of Balgaddy where some people live in overcrowded, poor quality and substandard living conditions despite promises of a new way of living. So you can understand why people are concerned and sceptical about the delivery of a sustainable town the size of Wexford sandwiched in between the hugely built up suburbs of Clondalkin and Lucan.

Yesterday we heard that Clonburris SDZ offers a new way of community living, We were all told during the Clonburris SDZ planning meetings to treat the Clonburris SDZ as a standalone project separate from Clondalkin and Lucan this is not possible, they are all interlinked. Our role as local councillors is to represent the constituents and their concerns. I feel part of that role is to ensure that any new buildings works does not adversely affect residents already living in the surrounding areas.

In regards to the Clonburris SDZ, Firstly I Voted for the final draft of the Clonburris SDZ not because I felt it was the best plan and most sustainable community but because I wouldn’t vote against housing, We as public representatives have been given, by the SDZ legislation, a role to plan and design sustainable communities, including housing, facilities and service development within the Clonburris lands, and, have been given the task to adopt a plan that will promote a sustainable community in this new Town. The vision we tried to put forward and adopt through our individual and collective council motions during the SDZ meetings , was one that sought to fully develop the SDZ concept where residential, commercial, community and essential services such as public transport, are provided and developed in an integrated and phased manner. This is our chance to get it right , to build a sustainable community that we won’t be looking back in 10 , 20 , 30 years and regretting poor development planning decisions.  We need to learn from past mistakes. This SDZ we are told could be a 20-30 year project.

I want to focus on some of my main concerns re Clonburris SDZ and they are as follows:

  • Housing – I feel the Clonburris SDZ offers the last tangible and real opportunity to address the Huge Housing crisis in South Dublin County council, I feel the social housing across the private owned land should be at least 15% if not up 20% along with a 40% affordable housing scheme and the rest private housing. This  could and needs be done with Government supports and I want a fully integrated and mixed community. Most of the housing in my opinion needs to be beside or near the train stations in the town centres to eliminate some of the need to travel and additional traffic I ask SDCC what efforts were made by SDCC to get an affordable housing scheme included as part of the Clonburris SDZ ? and was the minister asked to allow an increase into council houses percentage from 10% to 15% or 20% on private lands?

 

  • Community Facilities – I would like to see greater commitment to when playspaces , teenage facilities , community spaces etc will be delivered in tandem with the housing. Who will oversee the delivery of playspaces , teenage facilities and community spaces etc ? and when will they be delivered?

 

  • Transport – We were told yesterday that the SDZ aims to address Traffic challenges, My concerns are around traffic coming out of the Clonburris SDZ and onto Clondalkin and Lucan already congested roads. A promised Metro that was to go through Clondalkin has now disappeared of all government plans and I don’t feel or nor do many residents I represent feel that there is adequate provision within the Clonburris SDZ for a proper and comprehensive transport network.  Again for this to go ahead as is will adversely affect the lives of residents already living in the Clondalkin and Lucan area. For example the Fonthill road face long delays at certain times of the day. Lucan and Clondalkin village are at a standstill as is at times throughout the day. The huge volume of cars coming from Liffey Valley. The approved Kilcarberry building project that will deliver over 1000 houses and Eircom , balgaddy and oldcastle social council housing developments all in the pipeline and all will be using the Fonthill road. Where these new developments taken into account when considering traffic impact? Where the congested roads at grangecastle , Newcastle and Fonthil considered as part of traffic impact ? what times where the traffic surveys carried out at? What efforts are being made by SDCC to deal with traffic congestion already evident throughout Dublin Mid-West?

I heard with dismay yesterday from the NTAs contribution it seems they want less commitment to phasing and restrictions put into the plan can I ask SDCC to comment on this? Can I also ask that this is not part of the final SDZ and that all already agreed traffic measures in the plan are kept in the plan.

 

  • Garda Station – With crime rates and major drug issues apparent in the day to day life of our community, the current Garda stations are with the greatest of will and effort struggling to fight crime, This along with Shootings and serious crimes has left many report feeling unsafe in their communities as petty crimes, drug dealing etc. take grip of our community. I feel a commitment to build a large Garda station on or near the Clonburris SDZ must be written into the Clonburris SDZ. The extra resources and costs involved in providing a safe environment and law and order must in my opinion be committed to in writing prior to the Clonburris SDZ being given final approval given the current deficits in man power and resources. Can I ask what SDCC have done in regards to combatting escalating crime in the area and what additional supports they will put in place to combat anti-social behaviour and what the cost of this will be and how the cost will be met ? Has SDCC asked the department of justice and Garda headquarters to ensure additional resources are available to ensure that this SDZ is a safe and sustainable town? And what there reply was to such a request?

 

All I ask is that the final plan meets the varied needs of those in need of social affordable and private housing in an integrated and shared manner, and that the Transport system does not to overly effect already congested and struggling road networks and that a Garda station adequately resourced and capable of dealing with the large numbers of people that will live in the completed Clonburris SDZ is made part of the plan and that community infrastructure is delivered and mapped out clearly in the SDZ. Above all I want a sustainable town that people will want to live in and will live full and active happy lives. Prevention is always better than cure so I hope that’s An Bord Pleanála listen to mine and others appeal and that this SDZ is relooked at and made into a much more sustainable plan that will deliver not just for new residents that will move in when its built but will add facilities that will benefit the surrounding areas and a transport network that will deliver for everyone concerned.

To this end I ask that a Project Manager be put in place to oversee a team responsible for the delivery of the Clonburris SDZ and that residents in surrounding areas have a designated contact that can deal with issues of Noise . working times , dust and other issues that may arise during building works. I ask what plan has SDCC got in place for this? And when will this be delivered? And how often will the elected councillors be kept updated on the progress of the SDZ? And given that after May Local Elections the SDZ will be in 3 local electoral areas how will this be managed ?