Portmarnock residents denied estate gate plan
‘The Kilns’ in Portmarnock.
A PORTMARNOCK housing development has been denied the opportunity to become a ‘gated community’ by a decision by An Bord Pleanala which agreed with Fingal County Council that planning permission for a gated entrance to the development should be refused.
Ravenshall Developments Limited, the developers of ‘The Kilns’ in Portmarnock appealed the council’s decision to refuse permission for a sliding security gate at the entrance to the apartment development but failed to convince An Bord Pleanala that the decision should be changed.
The Board’s decision was based on a report by its planning inspector who had a number of concerns over the proposal to construct the sliding gate at the entrance to the development off Station Road at Mayfield and Swiss Cottage.
The inspector was concerned that the construction of the gate, so close to Portmarnock Station car park and shuttle lights and the road would create ‘serious traffic congestion and would, therefore, endanger public safety by reason of traffic hazard’.
The inspector also said that the development would create a ‘gated community’ which would be contrary to objectives set out in the current Fingal County Development Plan to promote social inclusion in the developing county.
The overall site is roughly rectangular in shape and measures approximately 90 metres by 190 metres and has permission granted for 128 apartments in nine blocks and a crèche.
The apartments closest to Station Road have been built and building works are on going further within the site.
The proposed gate was to be approximately 1.1 metres high and to slide to the eastern boundary of the development and was to be hung on the existing stone granite pillars and set back from the public road by approximately 10 metres.
Residents in The Kilns had argued that due to the proximity of the train station, overflow parking within the development would be ‘inevitable and untenable’.
The developer argued that it anticipated there will be a serious problem to residents by overflow parking from the park and ride facility across the road and that it was seeking to protect the use of the site for residents/visitors.
Both the council and An Bord Pleanala agreed however that the possibility of gating the development or restricting access to that residential area was not acceptable as it would be detrimental to the residential amenities of adjacent and future developments by restricting access to the public open space.
It would also impose a physical barrier for the estate would ‘not enhance a community or enable inclusion, and would set an undesirable precedent for future gated communities in the area notwithstanding the existence of electric gates on adjacent residential complexes’.
Ravenshall Developments said that refusal of permission for the gate ‘fails to recognise the negative impact uncontrolled vehicle access will have on the residential amenity of the development where vehicle control is imperative in order to protect residential amenity and to ensure the prevention of illegal, unauthorised and hazardous car parking caused by the overflow from the park and ride facility’.
The developers answered concerns over traffic congestion by saying that it had consulted with a traffic engineer and ‘concluded that traffic control is essential, however in order to increase the response time of the opening of gates it is suggested that a parking control barrier is used’.
Defending the gate proposal, the Ravenshall Developments state in its appeal: ‘The sole reason for the gate is the protection of the amenity of residents of the development.
‘The proposal will not result in a gated community as there will be no restriction to pedestrians and therefore the refusal reason is incorrect.’
Cllr Peter Coyle (Lab) made a submission to the appeal, agreeing that a gate was needed for the development to protect the residents from overflow parking from the nearby car-park.
Cllr Coyle said the proposal would provide basic security for cars and properties in the development and that the development would remain open to pedestrians and would not be a gated community ‘in a real sense’.
Green Party leader, Trevor Sargent TD agreed and said in his submission to the appeal: ‘Overflow car parking by commuters at the adjacent Portmarnock DART station creates a traffic hazard.
‘The entrance to the Kilns is opposite the station and parking will become a major problem in the development as commuters take the opportunity to leave cars there all day creating congestion.
‘In this instance a security gate for the Kilns will prevent the possibility of congestion of traffic from taking place.’
The planning inspector however reported: ‘Having read the file, inspected the site and considered the grounds of appeal, I am on balance of the opinion that having regard to all the foregoing and to the established form and character of the area and surrounding development, that the proposed development would be detrimental to highway safety and therefore is contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area. I am of the opinion that the proposal is not acceptable.’
An Bord Pleanala sided with its inspector and Fingal County Council and refused planning permission for the sliding security gate.
By John Manning