Nearly 180 people attend Hell Fire Club development open days

By Mary Dennehy

NEARLY 180 people attended two open days on the proposed Dublin Mountains Project, which was staged in Tallaght Stadium last Thursday and Friday.

Hosted by South Dublin County Council as a means to receive feedback, the open days recorded 177 visitors who represented themselves, residents’ associations, walking clubs and other groups.

Dublin Mountains Development open day 13042017

Speaking with The Echo, Frank Nevin, the council’s Director of Economic Development, said: “We wanted an opportunity to explain to people what the project is about and how we propose to do it.

“We also wanted to get feedback from members of the public.”

He added: “The project is all about conservation, protection and tourism.

“The Hell Fire Club and Massy’s are magnificent local assets and need to be properly managed as a habitat, as a wilderness, regardless of any project development.

“What the council is proposing will see improved car park facilities, enhance traffic management, a visitor centre, with between 60 and 70 seats which will look out over the mountain, café, toilet facilities and a tree-top bridge linking the two sites.

“The existing paths will be upgraded . . . with one new circular path proposed for around the Hell Fire site which, outside the archaeological zone, will have points of interest on it.

“We are also looking at potential examples of how traffic is managed on narrow roads in other countries.

“We know that we need realistic solutions to traffic and are working on that.”

The council is still awaiting direction from An Bord Pleanála on whether the project requires an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

However, Mr Nevin told The Echo that while the scale of the project may not require the completion of an EIA, the council has taken the lead and is conducting an EIA due to the area’s environmental sensitivities.

If ABP directs that an EIA must be completed, the council’s planning application will be lodged directly with the Board.

However, if an EIA is not deemed necessary by ABP, the planning application goes to a Part 8 (public consultation stage) and will then go before the council’s elected members.

Whichever path the council’s planning application takes, members of the public can lodge submissions on the proposal.

Concluding, Mr Nevin said: “There will be minimal intervention with these sites and any works will be purely conservational.

“The amount of physical work is actually quite small and the council got a good opportunity to show this to members of the public over the open days.”

Visit www.sdcc.ie for details and updates on the proposed project.

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