File photo: Kildare County Council HQ
The Minister for Housing and Urban Development has made a legal order direction to Kildare County Council to overturn the Celbridge Local Area Plan.
Minister Damien English, had recommended that Donaghcumper demesne be zoned for commercial, retail and housing development but, against the advice of the the Council’s Chief Executive, Peter Carey, the Council at every level voted to keep Donaghcumper as open space.
The Minister has also directed that they drop a housing proposal at Crodaun and return it to open space.The letter was sent to the Council on November 10.
Cllr Anthony Larkin, who had proposed the open space zoning, said that the direction was “a gross injustice.”
In a letter to the Council, Minister English said that Celbridge would have a “major expansion” of its population and there was “a need to ensure that a new housing development is matched by the scope to develop an expanded town centre.
He said the current plan did not provide for a sequential approach to the zoning of land where land closest to the town centre and public transport be prioritised.
Mr English said there was no statement in the LAP justifying the Council’s decision to depart from Ministerial guidelines.
“The Donaghcumper site is centrally located and is the most appropriate location for a town centre zoning for future commercial, retail and other related facilities in accordance with the Development Plan Guidelines.”
The Minister has directed that the Council now publish a notice of its intention to change its plan.
Cllr Anthony Larkin, said he was disappointed: “Like many, I am very disappointed that Minister for State Damien English decided to overrule local opinion on the significance of Donaghcumper Demesne next to Castletown and the Liffey Valley. In directing Kildare County Council to zone Donaghcumper for retail and residential development.”
Cllr Larkin continued: “The campaigners who resisted developer-led pressure should be proud of the honest stance taken by the local community. If all of the facts had been properly considered, we would be celebrating a far fairer outcome today. It is worrying and I am concerned that influences on the planning system far outweigh the views of local communities.”
He added: “If this continues, I expect to see the day when planning authorities are reduced to the role to appealing to the whims of absentee decision-makers in Dublin – who do not have to live among the communities they preside over. Having lost this battle, it is time to review the outcome and to examine if there are any ways to remedy this gross injustice.”