Hotel offers alternative school site for free

By Mary Dennehy

THE owners of Citywest Hotel have objected to the Department of Education’s proposed plans for two new schools in the area – offering an alternative site for free that they believe will not give rise to “serious access and chaotic traffic issues”.

Just before Christmas, the Department of Education lodged a planning application with South Dublin County Council for a new, two school educational campus on Fortunestown Lane, Saggart.

CITYWEST SCHOOL compressor

The site for the proposed two schools on Fortunestown lane

The planning application also seeks the demolition of the existing four-storey education/former short stay residential blocks on site.

To date, the application has received 16 submissions from local businesses and residents – with issues surrounding traffic, access and a potential flood risk among concerns raised.

The owners of Citywest Hotel and its surrounding lands, Tetrarch Capital, have also lodged a detailed objection, which outlines “traffic chaos” as a main concern.

According to the objection, the proposed development would “result in over 300 additional car arrivals at peak rush hour resulting in traffic chaos around the Luas station”.

The objection continues: “The scheme as currently proposed will give rise to numerous and potentially dangerous traffic issues for schools pupils, parents and locals.

“The proposed development would have severe implications on access to the Luas Red Line terminus on Fortunestown Lane and future development on adjacent lands…”

It is understood that the Department’s proposal would also mean that access to the Luas is cut off for any future residential development on Tetrarch’s Citywest lands (approx. 220 acres), which are currently being masterplanned.

The Masterplan proposes, for example, traditional residential homes and apartments for sale, public parks, playing pitches and other sports facilities, a medical centre and new roads and path ways.

Tetrarch will be seeking the rezoing of its lands to provide for the proposal envisaged in its Masterplan, which it believes will ‘improve access, connectivity and permeability’ for Citywest and Saggart.

According to Tetrarch’s submission to the council, it has offered the Department of Education an alternative, fully serviced, immediately adjacent site for free.

Offers were made in March and August of last year to the Department.

In March, an offer was made by way of a land swap for an element of the application site, but no response was received from the Department.

In August, the site was offered on a fully serviced basis at no cost, no land swap was proposed – with the offer being made by Tetrarch again this month.

According to Techrarch, if the Department was to progress with the alternative site, it could reap in the region of €8.5m for the sale of the application site on the open market.

“Development on [the alternative site] will not give rise to the serious access and inevitably chaotic traffic issues or the potential flooding and infrastructure difficulties of the application site”, Tetrarch’s objection reads.

Tetrarch also believes that the existing buildings on the Department’s site, earmarked for demolition, include an estimated 35 residential units on the upper floors that are currently vacant – and “could readily” be used.

South Dublin County Council is expected to make a decision on the Department of Education’s planning application by February 19.

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