LAP area plan is going back out to public consultation

By Mary Dennehy

THE proposed Draft Tallaght Local Area Plan is heading back out to public consultation after a special meeting was held in council chambers last Thursday.

The Tallaght Local Area Plan (LAP) focuses on the Tallaght Town Centre, which consists of eight ‘neighbourhood areas’.

Village Main St compressor

An aerial shot of Tallaght Village

These include the Centre (Square and surrounding areas), Cookstown, the Village, Broomhill, Greenhills, TUD Tallaght Campus, Whitestown and the Town Park (Sean Walsh Park, Tallaght Stadium).

According to the council, the purpose of the LAP is to provide a “strategic framework for the sustainable development” of Tallaght Town Centre – the Capital of South Dublin County.

The proposed Draft Tallaght LAP received 49 submissions during its six-week public consultation stage – which identified a total of 255 issues.

All of these submissions were considered by council management, with responses and recommendations made through the Chief Executive’s Report on Public Consultation.

Less than half of the 40 councillors on South Dublin County Council were present in council chambers to discuss the CEO’s report - and debate a number of motions lodged by councillors.

However, due to the number of amendments made, council management recommended that as the plan is subject to material alterations it should go back to public consultation – a recommendation accepted by councillors present.

One of the motions debated during the three-hour meeting was in relation to a proposal in the CEO’s report to remove a section which stipulates that ‘buildings over 10 storeys would generally not be supported’.

This proposed change was not accepted by councillors present, with the 10 storey guideline remaining in the proposed Draft plan.

 An interesting debate on the evening was in relation to Section 5.21 of the draft plan, which prescribes 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.

The 30 per cent minimum provision for three-bed apartments was removed from the manager’s report.

Councillors questioned why this section, which they believe provides for the creation of sustainable homes and communities in Tallaght town centre, was removed.

According to council planners, a number of observations were made by builders and developers that the 30 per cent minimum contravened national policy.

Council planners stressed that while they are committed to ensuring that there is not an over proliferation of any one type of apartment, they cannot prescribe a minimum in relation to three-bed units.

Councillors were informed by management that if they voted to keep the 30 per cent minimum in the plan, they would receive a ministerial directive to remove it.

There was a sense among councillors present that their vision to create sustainable communities and homes for families was being over-riden by national policy.

After a lengthy discussion, councillors voted in favour of leaving the 30 per cent minimum in the Draft LAP, with further consideration to be given to the proposal when the council completes its Housing Needs Assessment.

A motion was also tabled by Fianna Fail councillor Teresa Costello about the development of a museum in the area.

“Tallaght is more than a place to be built up high”, Cllr Costello said.

“We have an opportunity with this LAP to celebrate Tallaght.

“There’s so much more to Tallaght, we should acknowledge our history and educate people about Tallaght, where we have come from and where we are now.” 

The motion received cross party support in the chambers, with suggestions also made that the museum could be a county-wide heritage museum, based in Tallaght.

Cllr Costello’s motion was amended to include the carrying out of a feasibility study to identify a site, and was passed by councillors.

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