File photo: KCC headquarters in Naas
An Taisce has come out in support of Kildare County Councillors who want strategic open space maintained at Donaghcumper demesne in Celbridge.
The heritage body, which regularly comments on planning matters, was commenting following the issue of a draft Directive by the Minister for Housing.
The An Taisce submission is one of 214 received by the Council by the September 29 deadline.
On September 13, the Minister, Damien English TD, told the Council’s chief executive, Peter Carey on September, that he was considering issuing a direction the Council to change the Celbridge Local Area Plan 2017-2023, which the Council had agreed.
The Minister said he had formed the “provisional opinion” that the Council did not take account of all matters.
He is taking issue with the Council decision to reject a Town Centre extension to Celbridge at the historic Donaghcumper demesne and a zoning at Crodaun on the edge of the town.
An Taisce,the National Trust for Ireland, agrees with the Minister that new house zoning land at Crodaun should be left out of the plan but that Donaghcumper should remain open space.
“The conservation and protection of our natural and built heritage for future generations is supported by a number of government policies, objectives and guidelines at national, regional and local level,” said its Planning Officer, Doireann Ni Cheallaigh.
Cllr Anthony Larkin, who proposed the motion against the town centre proposal, said he was very disappointed with the Minister’s direction.
Cllr Larkin has responded with to the Minister, in relation to both Donaghcumper and Crodaun.
Cllr Larkin said, while sequential development makes sense in many locations, Donaghcumper Demesne forms an important part of the landscape and the setting around Castletown.
“I believe that there must be more emphasis placed on the landscape characteristics when balancing the competing priorities.
“I am worried that planning for towns is far too focused on development and does not balance this with amenity considerations. I am also worried that given that the landowner gifted part of the demesne lands to Kildare County Council that by continuing to drive the zoning agenda, the process has been compromised.”
The Minister said Donaghcumper site is centrally located and is the most appropriate location for a town centre zoning for future commercial, retail and other related facilities.”
An Taisce said it had outlined the importance of the Donaghcumper site in two submissions to the Celbridge LAP this year.
It said the demesnes of Castletown, St Wolstan's and Donaghcumper “collectively” form the landscape setting of Castletown House and its grounds.
“The value of this landscape is much greater than the sum of its individual parts and warrants protection and preservation.”