Recreational facility worth exploring at Crooksling
The Crooksling site in Brittas

Recreational facility worth exploring at Crooksling

A NUMBER of developers have made submissions on the Draft South Dublin County Development Plan 2022-2028 seeking the rezoning of various sites around the county for a number of uses. This week in The Echo, Aideen O’Flaherty reports on submissions relating to sites in Tallaght Town Centre/The Square, Citywest, Brittas, and Elder Heath, Kiltipper. The submissions will be voted on by councillors next March, when they will decide whether to adopt or amend the draft plan. According to South Dublin County Council, the County Development Plan is one of the most important documents for a local authority, and impacts on how the county deals with climate change, how people move around, where people live and work and the quality of their lives.

THE former site of St Brigid’s Nursing home in Crooksling, Brittas, has future potential for a recreational facility, including a hotel or hostel, and this “is worth exploring”, according to the HSE.

The health service stated this in their submission on the South Dublin County Draft Development Plan, where they added that the current facility is “obsolescent” and would “need to be redeveloped” to be used as a centre for the care of the elderly – which is a Specific Local Objective (SLO) for the site.

However, there is a conflict between the SLO and uses which are not permitted under it, according to the HSE.

The uses which are not permitted include hospital use, housing for older people, nursing home, residential institution and retirement home uses.

The HSE explained that the site is “not ideally suited” to the SLO as it is “remote and removed from established residential and mixed-use areas and local services and amenities”.

They added: “However, were a consolidated retirement cluster to be of sufficient scale to be feasible to include a mix of independent living, sheltered housing and a full-time care nursing home facility in a campus-type setting then it might be sustainable.

“However, the current local objective would need to be re-worded in order to set out a greater flexibility in this regard to accommodate this particular clustered and consolidated elderly residential village model.”

In their submission, the HSE said potential recreational uses at the site, for tourism and amenity pursuits, would be worth investigating.

“The potential for a recreational facility is worth exploring and given the location proximate to high quality natural heritage and green infrastructure this could be something that could work at the subject site location, either on its own or consolidated with a hotel/hostel as an outward-bound resort type facility similar to Delphi Lodge in Connemara,” said the HSE.

“The recreational facility could align closely with the principle of being directly linked to the heritage and amenity of the Dublin Mountains.”

The SLO for the zoning of the site for care of the elderly was approved by councillors last July.

At that time South Dublin County Council warned that it would “unduly restrict the potential uses of the existing structures”.

The local authority noted that, at the time there were “a number of motions…seeking to improve tourism and leisure facilities in Brittas”.

One such proposal was submitted by the Mansfield Group, the owners of the Finnstown House Hotel, last summer concerning the Brittas ponds.

The group submitted a motion for the development of a leisure and tourism facility at a 100-acre site at the ponds.

The Crooksling facility was developed in the early 1900s after it was donated to the community to serve as a sanatorium for people with tuberculosis, and later became a nursing home called St Brigid’s.

St Brigid’s closed in late March 2020, and the majority of the residents were transferred to the Tymon North Community Nursing Home in Tallaght, which opened ahead of schedule in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Campaigners have claimed that the site would be ideal for a centre for elderly care due to its rural, quiet surroundings and close proximity to medical facilities in Tallaght.

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