10 years on South Dublin CC plans to review the Adamstown SDZ Planning Scheme.

Adamstown Entrance_Tom DowlingTen years on, South Dublin County Council intends to carry out a review of the Adamstown SDZ Planning Scheme, 2003 and to prepare a proposed amended Planning Scheme.

In 2001 South Dublin first put forward its plans to make a Local Area Plan for 550 acres at Adamstown.  Subsequently under the planning and development act 200: Part IX it was deemed a Strategic Development Zone (SZD) the first of its kind in the country which when granted planning permission had powers to fast track the planning without any further means of appeal.

A local group of residents of which I was a founding member ‘The Finnstown Input Group’ (FIG) formed following our concerns how Adamstown would be developed. Our standpoint was:

  • We were not against Adamstown in principle
  • We knew Dublin needs housing and a new style of housing
  • We were against planning and development, which isn’t integrated, controlled and accountable
  • This was a national issue rather than a local issue, as the solution has to be implemented at national level, and long term would have a cumulative effect on the development of the Greater Dublin area.

The plan was subsequently passed at South Dublin County Council and in February 2002 FIG along with other concerned parties and all the 4 local councillors made an appeal to An Board Pleanála which would be the final arbitrator. Once a decision was made at ABP there could be no further appeals to the plan which proposed to build 10,000 housing units over a 10 year period.  (a link to an article I wrote in the Irish Independent at that time)

There were many issues which were not addressed despite Adamstown being granted Strategic Development Zone (SZD) status. With such a high density development there was no linking or certain time line for delivery of social infrastructure, schools, parks, playgrounds and no delivery dates for public transport links despite Adamstown being granted the SDZ on the basis that it bounded the main cork Railway line. No consideration had being given to the cumulative effect of Adamstown and other developments concurrently taking place in West Dublin/North Kildare  which would lead to certain gridlock in Lucan and the surrounding areas.

Following a successful appeal the group now under the banner of ‘Deliver it Right’  achieved significant concessions at the Oral hearing including a phased development which linked housing directly with the delivery of infrastructure a first in planning in Ireland. Although not perfect by any means it ensured that residents of Adamstown would be buying into a community which would see the delivery of social infrastructure in tandem. not just a housing development which had blighted Lucan over the previous 20 years. For residents of the Greater Lucan area the phased development would help elevate the gridlocked scenario which would have resulted had measures not been put in place, The pressure placed on local schools would be lifted with the phased delivery of primary and secondary schools in Adamstown.

In late 2004 Phase 1A of the Adamstown plan was granted permission for a total of 330 units to commence with the first occupants moving in just over a year later. As we all know in late 2008 the entire property and banking market collapsed and Adamstown like other sites around Ireland came to a grinding halt. Adamstown is not a ghost estate and I have written here before if you want to get a view of Adamstown today.

Ten years on a review is a good idea on when and how Adamstown will final live up to its promise as a complete town, in actual fact the first homes were not completed until 2006 and the market crashed in 2009 .  However with this review I have already see eagerness on the part of some to start tampering with the plan. The plan is not the issue it has more or less lived up to its promise, that was up to the time of the banking crash. It was the lack of demand and finance (boom to bust politics of previous governments) which has left Adamstown stalled.

The delivery of infrastructure is locked into the original development plan on a phased basis was correct, yes Adamstown could do with a park and a community building, but additional car park spaces what is that all about? The original model for Adamstown was to encourage as many people as possible to use public transport and instead of improving services some are advocating putting in more car parking spaces.  Any tinkering with the SDZ model for Adamstown must be treated with a high level of scepticism.

Returning to the 3 bed semi detached model of the 70’s 80’s and 90’s is not what planning in Dublin need for the 21st century. Even the very negative opinions say Ireland will come out of recession within the next few years and Dublin’s population could reach 2 million as early as 2030. We must contain Dublin’s sprawl the last boom forced thousands of young families to places like Portlaosie and Mullingar because they could not find affordable homes in Dublin and now find themselves commuting for hours with ever increasing fuel bills.

The future of Dublin planning has to be  higher density developments, with larger better built apartments and linking infrastructure to the development of homes just like the Adamstown SDZ has. We cannot return to the uncontrolled sprawl of the past, instead we must think long term of what is best for the greater Dublin area and the future of its residents. This is not a political vote gathering exercise or a return to developer lead planning.

I have been living here since May 2009 and with every day Adamstown grows on me more. I would love to hear your views and comments good or bad?

South Dublin County Council is preparing An Environmental Report as part of a Strategic Environmental Assessment of the proposed amended Planning Scheme. The amended Planning Scheme will also be subject to Appropriate Assessment Screening under the Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC)

Pre-plan public consultation will take place from Monday 25th March 2013 until 4:00pm on Monday 22nd April 2013 inclusive.

Members of the public, local groups and stakeholders are invited to participate in community consultation workshops at Finnstown Country House Hotel,

Thursday 11th April, 7:30pm to 9:30pm or
Monday 15th April, 7:30pm to 9:30pm.
Registration from 7:15pm

Submissions and observations can be made in writing to the addresses below from

Monday 25th March 2013 to 4.00pm on Monday 22nd April 2013 inclusive.

Submissions and observations should state the name, address, and where relevant, the body represented.

By Email: adamstownreview@sdublincoco.ie

By Post:   Administrative Officer, Projects and Forward Planning,

Development Economic & Transport Planning Department,

South Dublin County Council, County Hall, Tallaght, Dublin 24.

For further information please contact 01 4149000 ext. no. 2313/2386

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