Why was a Plan prepared?
The majority of the lands at Clonburris were zoned for development in the South Dublin County Development Plan 2004 – 2010.
Local Objective 26 of the South Dublin County Development Plan 2004-2010 required a Local Area Plan to be prepared for lands at Clonburris. In addition, the Government designated approximately two-thirds of the lands at Clonburris (180 hectares) as a Strategic Development Zone (SDZ) in July 2006 under Part IX of the Planning and Development Act 2000; therefore a Planning Scheme had to be prepared for the SDZ area.
At the time of preparing this Plan, the Clonburris area was to directly benefit from the following major public transport projects proposed under the Government’s Transport 21 programme.
- The Kildare Route Project which involves upgrading of the Kildare Railway to four tracks and two new rail stations at Fonthill Road and Kishoge, both within the Plan area. (This has now been completed).
- Metro West is an orbital metro line connecting Tallaght, Clondalkin, Blanchardstown and Dublin Airport. The Rail Procurement Agency announced that the preferred route of the western section of Metro West was along the Fonthill Road and that a metro stop would be provided within Clonburris in the location of Fonthill Road Rail Station. The Metro West project was planned to be completed by 2014 (Not Delivered to date; currently not part of the Government’s “Infrastructure and Capital Investment Programme 2012-2016”)
- City Centre Rail Interconnector connecting Heuston Station with the station at Spencer Dock, to provide direct rail access from the Kildare Route into the city centre and facilitate electrification of the Kildare rail line as far as Hazelhatch giving the potential for fast commuter rail services. This project is due to be delivered by 2015. (Not Delivered to date; currently not part of the Government’s “Infrastructure and Capital Investment Programme 2012-2016”)
Therefore, a key objective for the planning framework for this area as set out in the SDZ Planning Scheme and Local Area Plan, was to create a new urban district that maximised and supported the major public transport infrastructure that was to be provided.
Why does the Plan contain both a SDZ Planning Scheme and Local Area Plan?
The lands at Clonburris comprise 265 hectares (655 acres) and were mainly zoned ‘A1’ (new residential communities subject to a plan) in the South Dublin County Council County Development Plan 2004-10. The lands were also partly subject to zoning objectives ‘A’ (residential), ‘DC’ (district centre) and ‘F’ (open space) in the County Development Plan.
Specific Local Objective No.26 of the South Dublin County Development Plan 2004-10 was to “Include the lands zoned District Centre at Balgaddy in a Local Area Plan for the lands at Clonburris Little and the zoned lands to the west of the Outer Ring Road”. South Dublin County Council was required to prepare a Local Area Plan for the area subject to this objective.
Further to a request from South Dublin County Council, the Government designated the majority of the Clonburris lands as a Strategic Development Zone (SDZ) under the Planning and Development Act 2000 in July 2006 (180 hectares). The Council, as Development Agency for the SDZ, was required to prepare a Planning Scheme for the SDZ portion of the lands. An SDZ Planning Scheme takes precedence over any Development Plan in force for the area.
In view of the close proximity of both parts of the site, the Council considered it important that a strategic approach be taken to the development of the lands. It was therefore decided to prepare a single Plan and Strategic Environmental Assessment covering all of the lands at Clonburris. The Plan encompassed a Planning Scheme for the SDZ designated lands in accordance with Part IX of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended), and a Local Area Plan for the remainder of the lands in accordance with SLO 26 of the County Development Plan 2004-10. The Plan therefore set out a strategic approach to development within the LAP and SDZ Planning Scheme areas, with relevant guidance disaggregated into the two areas where appropriate.
What is a SDZ Planning Scheme?
In accordance with Part IX of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended), the Council as Development Agency for the SDZ, is required to prepare a Planning Scheme for the SDZ portion of the lands. The Planning Scheme shows how the site will be developed including the extent and type of development that will take place, proposals relating to transport, services and amenities and facilities required to support new development, and proposals relating to minimising any adverse effects on the environment. When approved, the SDZ Planning Scheme forms part of any County Development Plan in force in the area until the Scheme is revoked. Any contrary provisions of the Development Plan are superseded by the Planning Scheme.
The Council’s decision on a proposed SDZ Planning Scheme may be appealed, within one month of being made, to An Bord Pleanála by any party who has previously made a submission to the Council on the SDZ during the public display period.
Following approval of a SDZ Planning Scheme, subsequent development within the Planning Scheme area will require planning permission from South Dublin County Council. Where planning applications are submitted for development proposals that are consistent with the provisions of the Planning Scheme, they will be granted permission. Where not consistent with the Scheme, no permission will be granted. No party may appeal to An Bord Pleanála against a decision of South Dublin County Council on any application for permission in respect of a development within the area subject to the Clonburris SDZ Planning Scheme.
Clonburris is the second SDZ designated in South Dublin County. The Adamstown SDZ was designated in 2000 and is now under construction.
What is a Local Area Plan?
A Local Area Plan sets out a spatial planning framework for the comprehensive development for an area. Local Objective 26 of the South Dublin County Development Plan 2004-2010 required a Local Area Plan to be prepared for lands at Clonburris. A Local Area Plan must be prepared and adopted in accordance with Part II, Section 20 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended).
When considering an application for planning permission for development within the boundary of a Local Area Plan, the Council and An Bord Pleanála must take account of the provisions of the Local Area Plan in force. The provisions of any relevant Local Area Plan may also be considered.
What was the Council’s vision for development at Clonburris?
Clonburris will be an exemplar of best practice in sustainable development, place-making and urban design. It will realise the full potential of its high accessibility by public transport, its canal-side location, and its critical mass. This will be a new eco-district that will set new standards for environmental urban expansion and act as a focus for new mixed-use development in the Greater Dublin Area.
The Plan set out a strategy to facilitate the development of a new, sustainable urban ‘eco-district’ at Clonburris focused on two new railway stations on the Dublin-Kildare suburban line and the proposed Metro West metro line. The new district would be a mixed-use urban area with a range of supporting infrastructure and facilities to be developed over 10-15 years from 2010, following the same model of planned and phased development that had been successfully implemented under the direction of South Dublin County Council at Adamstown.
It was proposed to develop the ‘Adamstown model’ further by incorporating a range of sustainable environmental performance targets designed to minimise carbon emissions, promote biodiversity and maximise the quality of life of future residents, within the overall Plan.
The Plan was intended to guide development and facilitate the development of the following:-
- 8 new neighbourhoods which together may accommodate between 11-16,000 new homes, tied to the delivery of major public transport infrastructure, on a phased basis from 2010;
- A major district centre focused on the Fonthill Rail Station/Metro West Interchange;
- A minor district centre focused on Kishoge Rail Station;
- 15% of the new homes to be social and/or affordable housing;
- New parks and canalside amenities;
- 4-6 Primary Schools;
- 2-3 Secondary Schools;
- A new road and busway network with new vehicular and pedestrian bridges over the canal and railway lines;
- Transport interchanges at Fonthill and Kishoge
- Community facilities including a Library/Civic centre with meeting rooms and youth café;
- A network of local community centres;
- A primary health care centre;
- A site for a fire station
- A Garda station;
- Crèche provision;
- A centre of worship;
- A recycling facility;
- Up to 10,000m2 (net) of convenience retail floor space including major food stores;
- Up to 43,000m2 (net) of comparison retail floor space;
- Enterprise and training facilities/small work units;
- A sports centre with swimming pool;
- Commercial leisure facilities including cinema, bars, cafes and restaurants;
- Scope for significant office/employment floor space;
- An opportunity site for a major leisure destination such as a concert or event arena.
All of the above were phased where required in the Local Area Plan/Planning Scheme. This is the most critical element of the future development process. The inclusion of phased requirements in an approved Local Area Plan carries significant weight with South Dublin County Council and An Bord Pleanála in the determination of planning application(s) further to the Local Area Plan. The inclusion of phased requirements in an approved Planning Scheme are effectively non-negotiable requirements in respect of which permission to develop may be withheld.
What information does the Plan contain?
The Plan set out a strategic approach to development within the LAP and SDZ Planning Scheme areas, although relevant guidance is disaggregated into the two areas where appropriate. The Plan includes guidance and standards in relation to the extent, type and density of development permissible, the infrastructure and facilities needed to support the proposed new development, a master plan and development frameworks clearly setting out the structure of the new district, guidance on design and layout, clear targets in areas such as energy, transport, and drainage for new development, and a phasing and delivery plan.
The format of the Plan is as follows:-
- Vision and Master Plan
- Development Frameworks
- Neighbourhood Guidance – LAP area
- Neighbourhood Guidance – SDZ area
- Sustainability and Development standards
- Infrastructure, phasing and delivery
- Design codes
Determination of the Plan
The SDZ Planning Scheme was determined on the 9th January 2008, with the determination and decision on the Local Area Plan taking place at Council Meetings from December 2007 to April 2008.
The SDZ Planning Scheme element was appealed to An Bord Pleanála and was subject to an oral hearing from April 28th 2008 to May 21st May 2008. Subject to modifications, An Bord Pleanála approved the Planning Scheme in November 2008.
What has happened to date?
The original vision for Clonburris SDZ and LAP areas was to develop an exemplar of best practice in sustainable development, place-making and urban design. None of the residential or commercial development envisaged on the lands has been realised to date due largely to the economic downturn.
A new primary school has been completed and a large new post-primary school has commenced construction on the Clonburris LAP lands. These schools currently cater for demand from the adjoining Lucan area to the north, but will have capacity to also serve Clonburris.
In addition, two new railway stations have been constructed on the upgraded Kildare suburban line, with services running to Heuston Station (Fonthill is open and Kishoge is due to open in 2015). A new canalside greenway cycle track and bridge have been completed linking the Adamstown/Lucan area with the City Centre, adjoining the SDZ/LAP lands.
Considering changed circumstances since the designation and the making of the Planning Scheme and LAP, including strategic infrastructure changes, emerging requirements for life cycle housing, and the economic focus towards the knowledge economy, a review of the SDZ Planning Scheme is now timely.