Newlands Farm: ‘A vital green lung’ will be gone

 In a series of articles that look at all sides of the story, The Echo examines the proposed plan to seek to rezone the green belt between Tallaght and Clondalkin.

THE Kingswood Heights Residents’ Association has described the Hibernia REIT lands as “a vital green lung” to Kingswood and Clondalkin, and they expressed concerns over the potential density of the proposed residential aspect of the development plans.

In order to seek planning permission for residential development at the subject site, which is currently zoned for agricultural uses, the lands would have to be rezoned for residential development.

ECHO Belgard Fields 4 of 4 Photo Ben Ryan 1

For that to happen, the site will need to be rezoned in a future County Development Plan, or by the material contravention of the existing County Development Plan.

The rezoning would also have to be approved by a vote by South Dublin County councillors, and the potential rezoning of the lands is one of the residents’ associations points of concern.

The Kingswood Height Residents’ Association recently had a virtual meeting with Hibernia REIT, where the developer outlined their plans for the proposed sports facilities.

However, the association wanted further details about the residential portion of the plans, and they added that Hibernia “seems to be [revealing] small portions of the development, rather than the full picture, so that the complete impact cannot be understood by those who will be most impacted.”

In a joint statement, Teresa Duffy and Fionnuala Purcell from the residents’ association told The Echo: “Our association actively supports the continued designation as ‘green belt’ of the lands currently in the area bounded by the Belgard Road, the Naas Road and this estate.

Newlands 1 1

An artists image of part of the proposed development

“We seek to preserve as a cultural/learning centre and gardens the house known as Whitehall and its gate lodge.

“As we are a residents’ association, our main focus is on homes and the community, so we asked for information on housing, accommodation types and density. A plan for various building locations was provided.

“We as a residents’ association are acutely aware of the urgent need for housing, but this type of proposal is not conducive to sustainable communities – buy-to-let only creates transient tenants.”

They added: “The future rezoning of these lands will be decided by our 40 elected councillors and South Dublin County Council.”

The residents’ association distributed newsletters about the plans last week, where they outlined their concerns about the plans and stated that they felt Hibernia were presenting “a one-sided picture that only focuses on the positive” with the release of details about the proposed sports facilities.

While they stated that the proposed playing pitches “would indeed be very welcomed”, they questioned “at what cost” it would be, “when we look at the overall impact of a high-density development—likely to be three times the density of Kingswood Heights.”

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