War of words over simple infill social housing development

By Maurice Garvey

POLITICS surrounding a simple infill social housing development in Clondalkin mercifully came to an end this week (at least in the chamber) after South Dublin County Council approved it’s proposal for 19 social housing units on the green between Lindisfarne and Melrose.

Plans for the 2.25 acre site at Lindisfarne went to public consultation in August 2020 and received a total of 60 submissions – with concerns raised from residents about the loss of green space.

Lindisfarne Pdf from page 20 1

An artist impression of the infill social housing at Lindisfarne

The initial plan was for 28 houses but this was reduced to 19 social homes with lower density and greater green space for recreation.

At the December council meeting, Sinn Féin tabled an amendment seeking to reduce the number of homes at Lindisfarne to 16 while increasing the number of social homes on a nearby social housing scheme.

This led to a war or words on social media chiefly between Fine Gael and Sinn Féin, with Deputy Mayor David McManus (FG) and Ken Egan (FG) accusing SF of opposing housing.

The spats certainly worked wonders for social media engagement for the respective belligerents on both sides of the divide, and spilled over into the council meeting on Monday, with Cllr Cathal King (SF) urging FG to look at their own party’s record of opposition to housing in the county.

While there was a resolution at the meeting, the battle continues to rage on social media accounts.

Revised drawings by Sinn Féin did not make their way into the hands of councillors until shortly before the council meeting, explained by SF on issues surrounding the wording and drafting of the document before it could be presented to the floor.

Speaking at the meeting, Cllr McManus said the amendment to add housing outside of the existing Lindisfarne Part 8 would have “led to delays by six months.”

“You cannot add an additional site without starting a new public consultation with drawings and designs,” said the Deputy Mayor.

“This project should have got the green light back in December but this was delayed by Sinn Féin and valuable time has been lost. If we followed their alternative, it would mean a new public consultation and new designs and a delay by six months.”

Clondalkin Cllr William Carey (SF) who tabled the amendment, said their proposal would have increased the number of social homes on a second nearby social housing scheme by up to 29 units.

“That would have been up to 44 new social homes on two sites. It is important we get this right rather than worry about delays. These houses are going to be here for the next 80 years,” said Cllr Carey.

“The original plan of 29 homes and a family centre was clearly too dense and ran into quite a lot of opposition in the area. It is hard to fathom why councillors would vote down an alternative proposal that would have addressed those concerns while actually increasing the total number of new social homes in Bawnogue.”

Colm Ward, Director of Services SDCC, said if the amendment was approved it would need a separate Part 8.

“We are ready to crack on, we have Department approval, send it out to tender. It is a low density project by any stretch of the imagination.”

Members voted 25-14 to reject the Sinn Féin amendment and voted 39-0 in favour of adopting the council plans.

At the time of going to print, the war of words continues apace.

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