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Update Bray Municipal District Meeting 10th May 2021

As current Cathaoirleach of Bray MD, this meeting was my final full meeting before June where a new Cathaoirleach will be elected. As always it was a heavy agenda with some really important items for discussion, including two SHD applications and concept drawings for Ballywaltrim Sports Fields.



The first two items for discussion involved presentations by Wicklow County Council Planning Department on two SHD's. Strategic Housing Developments (SHD) are applications that go directly to An Bord Pleanála for decision. Some of the types of applications under strategic housing developments are of one hundred or more houses. As part of this process, Councillors of Bray Municipal District have the opportunity to comment on the proposal but not make the final decision. These comments form part of a report issued by Wicklow County Council to An Board Pleanála for consideration when making their decision. The process of SHD's is ending which is very much welcomed. As such the two SHD's presented to Bray MD at this meeting are some of the last few coming through the existing SHD system. On the night members were informed that they expect one more SHD to come before Bray before the current system ends.




SHD No. 1 - Strategic housing development, Lands at Fassaroe and Monastery, Bray, Co. Wicklow.


The development will consist of:

  • 650 no. residential units comprising 241 no. houses and 409 no. apartments

  • Road link (2.4km) connecting N11 to Ballyman Road (with westerly connection to Ballyman Road already in place)

  • Pedestrian / cycle route including bridge across the N11 to Dargle Road Upper

  • 15.3ha of District Park / Active Open Space

  • 3 No. pocket park areas comprising a total of 0.43ha.

  • 733sq.m approx. crèche with capacity for approx. 138 no. childcare spaces

  • Retail unit / café kiosk (108sq.m.) in district park

  • Neighbourhood Centre Phase 1 comprising 1,035sq.m. retail, 360sq.m. café, 480sq.m community concierge (serving entire Fassaroe community)

  • 414sq.m. residential ancillary uses for residents of the neighbourhood centre apartments (residents lounge 256sq.m., residents gym 90sq.m., and residents concierge 68sq.m.),

  • Demolition of an existing dwelling at Berryfield Lane

  • Undergrounding and alteration of 2 No. 38kV overhead ESB lines undergrounding of 110 kV overhead lines and associated works including construction of 2 No. 110 kV Line Cable Interface Mast, associated 110 kV Overhead Line retirements, installation of ducting and underground cable and installation and retirement of electrical equipment and structures within the existing ESB Fassaroe Substation

  • Site development / ground works across the lands; Water supply, foul and surface water drainage proposals

  • Remediation of 5 no. historic landfill sites in line with Certificates of Authorisation issued to Wicklow County Council by the EPA in 2019.

The development was discussed and members shared their views which included concerns regarding the allocation of Part V with the development, connectivity to the wider community, lack of overall strategic plan for the area which involves a much bigger development (this SHD only relates to phase one), community facilities, including sports needs and the lack of school and community infrastructure in general.


All Bray MD members are in full agreement that safeguards are needed for this development and any other to ensure that there are no mass purchases by vulture funds.


If members of the public wish to make further submissions this must be done by the 17th May 2022. This is a really big and complex development, further information , including all reports can be seen at Fassaroe SHD – By Cosgraves


Development of this agree is part of the Local Area Plan for Bray which was approved in 2018 (see image below).


SHD No. 2 - Strategic housing development, Lands at the former Heiton Buckley site on Castle Street; St. Anthony’s Dwyer Park and No. 20 Dwyer Park, Bray, Co. Wicklow (Eircodes A98 V973, A98 XW31 and A98 YC44).



The development will consist of:-

  • Demolition of all existing vacant commercial buildings (Heiton Buckley site) and vacant residential buildings (St. Anthony’s & 20 Dwyer Park) and sections of boundary wall;

  • Construction of a mixed-use residential and commercial development in 2 primary blocks (A and B) ranging in height from 1 to 7-storeys set around a central, podium level amenity space and a separate single storey pavilion building along Castle Street;

  • The residential element will accommodate 139 no. apartments comprising 33 no. 1-bedroom units; 91 no. 2-bedroom units; and 15 no. 3-bedroom units, with associated balconies;

  • Block A (3-7 storeys) will accommodate 93 no. apartments at ground to 6th floor, with creche, bicycle store, substation, bin storage and plant rooms at ground floor;

  • Block B (1-6 storeys) fronting Castle Street will accommodate 46 no. apartments at 1st to 5th floor, with 2 no. retail/non-retail service/restaurant units, communal resident’s room and bin storage at ground floor level;

  • The separate street level single storey pavilion building will accommodate a community facility on Castle Street;

  • Vehicular access from Castle Street to 59 no. undercroft car parking spaces and 3 no. creche drop-off spaces with footpath access route to creche;

  • Principal pedestrian and cyclist access from Castle Street with secondary access from Dwyer Park;

  • New surface water sewer extending along Castle Street from the site to River Dargle at Bray Bridge;

  • Landscaped communal open spaces, boundary treatments, bicycle parking, signage, loading bay at Dwyer Park and all associated site works and services.

The development was discussed and members shared their views which included concerns regarding height, proposed access points into Dwyer Park from the new development, the height of the wall which is proposed to be reduced opposite nos. 1 - 3, privacy screening for existing homes and the impact of traffic.


Again, all Bray MD members are in full agreement that safeguards are needed for this development and any other to ensure that there are no mass purchases by vulture funds.


In addition I raised concerns regarding the relocation of the bus stop which is part of another bigger scheme which would see the destruction of one of the most beautiful urban gardens located at Belton Terrace.

If members of the public wish to make further submissions this must be done by the 1st June 2022. This is a really big and complex development, further information , including all reports can be seen at Castle Street SHD – Bray


On both of these SHD I requested that consideration be given to the use of Part V units for affordable housing. There is a lack of council owned land for the development of affordable housing and as such I believe that we need to start using our Part V allocation equally between social & affordable housing to creation more opportunities for people to be able to have a home.


Ballywaltrim Sports Fields


Ballywaltrim Sports Fields are one of the largest sporting areas we have in the District. It is home to clubs such as Ardmore Rovers, Fergals Ogs, Bray Wheelers, Ballywaltrim Users Group among others and widely used by the local community and schools for walking and other recreational activities which the community have highlighted.



There are challenges in the area. Clubs have been limited in terms of growth and access to funding due to a lack of lease agreements in place, development for these groups needs to be considerate of the wider public use of the area.


The investment of €250,000 in Healthy Ireland Funding is very welcome to the area but further funding is needed.


The recent amazing success of Katie Taylor and her ongoing positive impact on women's boxing was highlighted at the earlier Wicklow County Council meeting, so too was her involvement in many sports when she was growing up. There have been many calls for statues to honour Katie, which she has been vocal about not wanting, in my view providing the opportunity for all children to have equal access and the facilities to play sports would truly be a tribute to Katie and is nothing more than the community and especially the children in our District deserve.



On this note I asked that Bray MD officials look at what could be possible in this area with a view to creating a vision. A vision that would provide a framework for future planning and development for the area. A vision that would support the many representations we have all had for clubs using this area and address some of the negative activity that residents close to these sports fields have had to endure.


At the meeting I thanked the officials for putting the necessary measures in place to bring this to its first stage of ‘concept drawings’. These 'concept drawings' are not an agreed plan but will allow us to see what could be possible. I also thanked representatives from Fergal Ogs, Ardmore Rovers, Bray Wheelers, St. Kilian's School & Ballywaltrim User Groups for the time they have given and for their positive feedback on the concept drawings to date.


These are ambitious plans and there will be a need to access funding and look at how the area will be managed but it is the start of a process to get real investment and upgrades into the area. In my opinion just talking or taking pictures of what is needed is not enough. Real action and hard work is needed to move things along. This project will take time and there are many more people to consult before it becomes a reality but it was great to see the first steps begin.


As always if you have any questions or queries on the items we discussed or would like additional information please do not hesitate to get in touch.


Aoife

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