Council ‘jump the gun’ with Springfield developments

By Hayden Moore

THE hotly debated development of 40 older persons' housing units in Fernwood and Maplewood ended on Monday as 26 councillors voted in favour of the residential developments – despite receiving 596 submissions from concerned residents.

pg 22 B Fernwood Park Development Plan

There were only six councillors against the proposed developments in Springfield, including Lucan councillor Gus O’Connell and Rathfarnham councillor Deirdre O’Donovan, while there were three abstentions.

The original proposed plan for the two developments saw a total of 53 homes across both lands, including a three-storey block of apartments at the Maplewood site, but after consultation with the public they have removed a total of 13 units.

The revised plan which was brought to the councillors on Monday proposed the removal of the three-storey apartment block in preference of one-storey bungalows, as well as the removal of the through-road from Fernwood Park to Birchwood Heights, with the final proposal consisting of 23 homes in Fernwood Park, and 17 homes with a community room in Maplewood Park.

Tensions were running high in the council chamber as Solidarity Cllr Mick Murphy argued that private rented housing in the Springfield estate has been a major issue for residents over the past 20 years and according to the Tallaght councillor, it has seen a rise from 272 private rented homes in 1999 to over 450 today.

Cllr Murphy slammed the council calling it a “slash and grab” as they “jump the gun” with the development.

The general feel from councillors voting in favour of the proposed developments was that the housing crises is an urgent issue, with Lucan Sinn Fein Cllr Danny O’Brien stating that “you can’t be saving space because people want to walk their dog” and that “people are being populist” for opposing the proposed developments.

Erupted with applause

The gallery was packed full of residents from Springfield who erupted with applause after Cllr Deirdre O’Donovan passionately exclaimed that “in 10-years-time when kids are dying from type 2 diabetes, are we going to knock down housing to create green space?

"Of course not, because that would be ridiculous".

Cllr Gus O’Connell backed it up saying that once the green space is “taken away, you can never get it back”.

Housing is a priority

A major concern highlighted by Mayor Mark Ward was that housing is a priority, as the figure rises to nearly 10,000 people without a home in Ireland today.

Mayor Ward explained that it’s an over 55’s development that is “very close to Tallaght Hospital, right beside the Luas and other amenities around it”.

He also focused on the figures, stressing that there are 40 units being built “that will house probably 60 people” and that the older persons will leave houses across the county “that will free up another 40 units” with a potential of four people per house, taking 160 people off the streets.

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