A vision of the future?

By Mary Dennehy

Over the coming weeks, The Echo will look at the eight ‘neighbourhoods’ that lie within the Tallaght Town Centre Local Area Plan – these include Centre (The Square and surrounding areas), Cookstown, the Village, Broomhill, Greenhills, TUD Tallaght Campus, Whitestown and the Town Park (Sean Walsh Park, Tallaght Stadium).

The draft Local Area Plan (LAP) for the Tallaght Town Centre outlines the proposed vision for the area between 2020 and 2026.

However, while the proposed plan has a statutory six-year timeframe, its full build out, which includes “significant regeneration and intensification of brownfield lands, and changing character areas”, is envisaged over a longer period of 20 years.

A Belgard Road Aerial Photo 001 compressor

Overlooking Cookstown Industrial Estate

Residential development is one key area, and according to the draft plan, the regeneration lands could deliver up to 5,000 homes in the years up to 2026.

With an area of 270 hectares, the full development of the LAP could accommodate between 9,700 to 12,800 new homes, 4,700 to 12,800 additional jobs and a population of up to 38,000 people over the next 20 years.

This week we will look at proposed plans for the Cookstown neighbourhood.

Cookstown is the largest ‘neighbourhood’ in the plan, with the proposed vision for this area being “an attractive mixed use, residential-led neighbourhood with distinctive urban qualities and high levels of access to public transport and the urban centre”.

Other key objectives for Cookstown are street links, mix of new open spaces, the delivery of a variety of building types around Luas stops and the incorporation of the River Poddle into open space infrastructure.

According to the proposed draft plan, between 4,661 and 5,969 dwellings could be built within the Cookstown area, over a maximum gross floorspace of 596,880.

If this ‘regeneration’ of Cookstown – which was once a thriving employment hub – was to go ahead, the industrial estate could become home to a large population, which would require infrastructure, facilities and a cohesive sense of community.

The Echo asked the council if they had any estimations on what the mix of houses and apartments would be in the Cookstown area.

In its reply, the council said: “The plan does not set a specific mix for apartments and houses, but contains various policies which require a mix of housing types and sizes be provided.”

Cookstown LAP compressor

Cookstown redevelopment may deliver almost 6,000 dwellings

As an example, the council reference Section 5.21 of the draft plan, which requires that a minimum 30 per cent of units within any new residential development (apartments or houses) have a minimum of three bedrooms.

Population statistics from Census 2016 reveal that the population living in the Tallaght Town Centre area is young (79 per cent under 40), and includes a high proportion of families at the early stages of forming a family.

According to the CSO, 75 per cent of families in the area are at the pre-family to early family stage of their lives, in comparison to 32 per cent in South Dublin County.

Also, 22 per cent of families in the Tallaght Town Centre LAP area comprise of four persons or more, which is up 13 per cent on 2011 figures.

The council states in its plan that to avoid an ‘over-proliferation’ of a single housing tenure, that new developments in the plan area must make for a ‘balanced mix’ of private (minimum 30 per cent), build-to-rent (maximum 60 per cent) and social housing (minimum 10 per cent) to accommodate the ‘needs of a mixed and balanced community’.

In relation to height and density, the council said: “The height and density strategy of the plan provides for various densities with more intense development (likely apartments) close to the town centre and Luas stops.

“The design and detail will be determined at planning application stage.”

Creating balanced and sustainable communities requires more than just housing.

When asked about facilities, the council said: “The council will facilitate the expansion and enhancement of existing community facilities and facilitate the provision of a range of new community facilities in tandem with population growth to meet the needs of the future residents of Tallaght”.

The council told The Echo that the draft plan indicates a requirement of one new community space for every 5,000 population and that

it “commits to ensuring that sufficient community facilities are planned for before this point”.

Cookstown Artists Impression 1 compressor

Cookstown Artist's Impression

The provision of a new primary school in Cookstown will be supported if ‘deemed necessary’ by the Dept of Education and Science.

There are currently 21 primary and four secondary schools located within/adjoining Tallaght Town Centre.

The council told The Echo that it will continue to engage with the Department in relation to the provision of school facilities in tandem with population growth within the plan area.

During the six-week public consultation stage, the proposed plan can be viewed at County Library and County Hall during normal working hours.

Council staff will be available to answer general queries in the foyer of County Hall every Wednesday, during the consultation period, between 11am and 1pm.

People with queries are also invited to speak with council staff in Tallaght Library on Thursday, October 10 from 1pm to 4pm; and Tuesday, October 15 from 4pm to 7.30pm.

The plan is also available to read online at http://consult.sdublincoco.ie.

Submissions on the proposed plan can be made online through the council’s consult portal or in writing to the council.

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