Fionnula Walker, Sean Darch and June Stuart from the Celbridge Action Alliance
SEVEN hundred and fifty submissions have been delivered to Kildare County Council over its plans for lands at Donaghcumper lands in the Celbridge along the Liffey valley.
Members of Celbridge Action Alliance (CAA) delivered a large number of submissions on the Draft Kildare County Development Plan 2017-2023 on November 29.
The area of Donaghcumber, which lies close to the Office of Public Works land Castletown House and Demesne, was subject to changes made by county councillors on the Draft Plan at their October meeting.
The Council has plan to put a retail element on the land which was subject of a five day Bord Pleanala oral hearing over six years
Located in the Liffey Valley, the site is historically linked to the Castletown demesne and forms a strategic green belt on the opposite bank to the Celbridge historic core area and Castletown demesne.
Alongside St Wolstan’s further downstream, the lands are recognised in regional planning policy for their green belt status.
Local are concerned about pressures to develop a new town centre for Celbridge that would be reminiscent of the ‘Celtic Tiger’ era.
The Alliance said the submissions supported the clarification of the ‘blue-line’ protection area but also seek to remove a policy that is believed could undermine that protection and pave the way for the pouring of concrete in the green fields and wooded areas.
The lands remain in the ownership of Devondale who lost two appeals to An Bord Pleanála: one in 2010 for 108 houses on part of the lands and another in 2011 for infrastructure that was to pave the way for blocks of multi-storey buildings that were to form a new town area.
Starting in 1992, CAA has sought to preserve the unique environmental and architectural heritage of Celbridge and the area around the internationally renowned Castletown House.
This heritage has been highlighted by the production of the Celbridge Tourism and Heritage Strategy by the Celbridge Tourism and Heritage Forum under the Integrated Services Provider programme of KCC.
The Forum has also produced an audio guide, “The Celbridge Heritage Trail,” which guides the walker from Castletown through the village to Tea Lane Graveyard at the other end.
“The local interest in restoring the site to high amenity is as strong as ever”, said a spokesperson for the Alliance. “The citizens of Celbridge, Leixlip and further afield, really appreciate and value the wonderful environment in Celbridge. Many told us that they had chosen to live here for that reason.”
The Alliance said that visitors cannot understand how any development could be contemplated in such a critical area. It also said that the Celbridge Local Area Plan is currently in preparation and many of these issues will have to be addressed again.