On Tuesday we held our October meeting of Bray Municipal District from 6.30 pm, finishing just after 9 pm. The following report highlights some of the main items discussed. As always please do not hesitate to contact me if you require any further information.
We have all been waiting patiently for the opening of the new shopping centre and that wait is now coming even closer to an end. Firstly, there was a requirement on the developers to bring the building to practical completion, which means building of the shell and core. This is now done, and the Council issued practical completion certificates at the beginning of September.
This has now activated the next step which is the legal transfer of title over to the developer. The Council had retained an interest in the site as a precautionary measure in case there were any difficulties with the building being constructed. As this is now complete the legal title is being transferred over.
Once the legal title is complete the Developers can open the shopping centre within days and sign leases on any of the units. It is expected that the first units to open will be the restaurants and car park, as well as the main walkway through the centre itself. Wow Burger is already fully fitted out and ready to open its doors.
Now that we are at this stage the developers will shortly be in a position to announce all tenants. So when will this happen and who are they? This is the question on my mind and probably on the minds of most of the town.
The honest answer is we don’t know. There are legal and commercial issues at play here. It is the developer, not the Council who has the right to make these announcements, but it is worth noting that they have invested heavily into this project and are as eager as we are to see it open. I am patiently watching this space.
SHD (Strategic Housing Development) at former Bray Golf Club Lands, Off Ravenswell Road and Dublin Road, Bray, Co. Dublin and Co. Wicklow.
This is the last SHD that will be brought before the Councillors for consideration as the SHD process will no longer be in place.
This SHD has come before the Councillors previously and went to ABP where permission was granted but ABP removed two apartment blocks from the original plan, one in Wicklow County Council's (WCC) area and one in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council’s (DLRCC) area. The developers decided to resubmit a new application and address the concerns originally raised by ABP.
Important dates are as follows;
Application was lodged on 26th September 2022
The closing date for submissions to ABP is 30th October 2022
WCC must submit the Chief Executives report which will include Councillors comments by 20th November 2022
There were 591 homes proposed in the original application, 76 houses and 515 apartments. It is now proposed as 586 homes, 76 houses and 510 apartments. It is also proposed to have retail units and a creche.
312 homes are in the administrate area of WCC, 270 apartments and 42 houses. 86% of the apartments are one- and two-bedroom units. One block of apartments is proposed as ‘Build to Rent’, these are located in DLRCC’s area. The tallest apartment block is 12 storeys high. Full details can be found at Coastal Quarter 2 SHD- Bray – Strategic Housing Development – Shankill Property Investments Limited (coastalquartershd2.com)
The following issues were raised by Councillors on the night;
Queries were raised regarding the road infrastructure which is indicated on the map as joining the bridge. This bridge is currently under an appeal and as such may not be developed. It was clarified that the application is not reliant on this bridge.
Inclusion of the ‘Dog Track’ on the Dublin Road in the application and why this was done. It was clarified that this was included as it is where the water connection would be made but does not indicate that this land is owned by the developer.
Request for road traffic management plan during construction. It was clarified that a traffic management plan would form part of the application and construction period.
Concern regarding ‘Build to rent’ block as WCC Councillors voted to stop institutional investors buying apartments to rent in the new County Development Plan. Clarified that this block is in DLRCC area and as such not subject to WCC County Development Plan.
Queries raised regarding flood zones. Clarified that area of homes not in flood zone.
The biggest query raised was whether or not this development represented a ‘material contravention’ of our Local Area Plan. Bray MD’s Local Area Plan (LAP) outlines how lands should be used in the District. When the plan was developed the Councillors at the time included a provision that on these lands 2 hectors should be assigned to park/recreational use. As part of the SHD application the developer must outline if they think an application is a ‘material contravention' of a LAP. In this application they have stated that they do not believe it is as the LAP did not state that 2 hectors should be assigned in one block and as such, they have provided this in different amounts around the development. This raised significant concerns for the Councillors and we have request that it be submitted as part of the Chief Executives report along with the other items raised.
Each month a housing report is provided by the officials and there is an opportunity to get updates and raise issues. This month I raised my concern about the increased number of people contacting me who are currently homeless, sleeping in tents, sofa surfing and living in cars. These individuals are registered with the Council but as they have no available emergency accommodation they are being issued with a letter stating that the Council will cover B&B costs. The challenge is that there is limited B&B accommodation available and in some cases this letter is not being accepted. This is a serious crisis and I have asked the Council to review the issue urgently and take proactive action.
Other updates included;
Parnell Road (Central Garage site) - Initially Tuath Approved Housing Body had concerns due to the costs of the project and applied for both CALF and CAS funding to ascertain which model would best support the rapidly rising costs. There were difficulties over the last 18 months securing reliable costings due to the considerable uncertainties in the market with some costs changing weekly. Tuath are now in the process of submitting a revised CALF and hope to secure funding in the next 4-6 weeks which will allow them to proceed to tender.
Kilbride Lodge and Sutton Villas - Respond Approved Housing body were successful in applying to advance this project. Part 8 is in place on both sites. There were a number of issues with the registration of the lands and the current position is as follows:
Kilbride Lodge: The main body of the site is registered to WCC and transfer orders have been secured from the 2 registered owners of most of the remaining areas. Registration should be completed shortly. There is a small outstanding area that cannot be registered to WCC, but this area is outside the building line.
Sutton Villas: the registration of this site is almost complete following the CPO process. Respond AHB are reluctant to proceed to tender until all land registration issues are resolved. They are concerned that they may not be able to secure HFA funding to advance the project.
Rehills Lands, Lower Dargle Rd. - The Department and NDFA are proceeding with the appointment of consultants for the scheme. This scheme will hopefully include the first affordable housing in Bray, as well as social housing and Age Friendly Housing.
Fassaroe, Bray – Bray MD hope to lodge the part 8 within the next month or so which will propose additional new social housing in Fassaroe.
Southern Cross Road - A development of 208 houses and apartments, including 20 Part V units, is in the process of being purchased for social housing as a turnkey by Cooperative Housing Ireland. The first units have been delivered and all units should be complete by Q4of 2022.
Supporting displaced Ukrainians
Bray MD confirmed that as of the 30th of September 1,083 displaced Ukrainians are now living in County Wicklow. 510 are living in Bray Municipal District. The former Loreto Convent Building is proposed as an accommodation centre and an update on how this is progressing was requested.
Update on works funded through Local Property Tax / Discretionary Funding
Seafront Toilets - The public gents toilets refurbishment at the back of Sealife was completed and opened in July. It is intended to tender for the refurbishment of the ladies’ toilets this autumn with the intention of commencing works by November.
Raheen Park - An ecologist has been engaged for the preparation of a Conservation Management Plan for Bray Head. The ecologist is also being engaged to prepare an appropriate assessment screening report for the trail proposals at Raheen Park. Drawings outlining the trail proposals were presented to the SAAO committee. A separate consultant has been engaged to prepare a NeighbourWood Scheme Plan for Bray Head with a view to apply for additional funding. A draft NeighbourWood Scheme Plan has been prepared. A meeting was held between Wicklow County Council, the ecologist preparing the Conservation Management Plan and the consultant preparing the NeighbourWood Scheme. Plan to coordinate and progress plans. It was agreed the draft NeighbourWood Scheme plan will be updated once the Conservation Management Plan is prepared.
Seafront Seatbacks - Documents are being prepared for tendering for painting section south of the aquarium.
Bogmeadow EV Charger - The 22kVA AC electric vehicle charger has been installed. Power supply connection is still awaited. A meeting was held with ESB on site to progress the connection.
Bray Harbour Improvements
The requirement for additional environmental assessments was identified in the draft Feasibility Report. RPS was requested to carry out an EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) Scoping Exercise as an add-on to their current engagement. A draft EIA has been received and this is being reviewed at present. This identifies all of the potential environmental impacts that needs to be addressed in the EIAR. A Stage 1 Screening for an Appropriate Assessment report has yet to be provided after which it is proposed to organise further public consultation that includes a 3D visualisation of the proposed scheme.
Enniskerry Village Renewal
Works started at the Fair Green commenced in January were temporarily suspended and have recently resumed in order to facilitate planting this Autumn.
Bray Sláintecare Healthy Communities
The council’s share of available funding for the project has been cut. It is likely that installation of caisthentics facilities at Ballywaltrim will proceed. It is also proposed to refurbish the tennis court at Giltspur Heights as a futsal court. A request has been made to ensure that local residents are consulted regarding this proposal.
Outdoor Performance Space
In consultation with the arts officer, a preference has moved towards the use of temporary seasonal stretched tent structures to cover the performance space. A meeting has been organised with providers to explore the options in greater detail. This project is very much at an enquire stage. There was debate on the night and suggestions that the project is moving in a different direction. This occurred as the officials outlined some views of stakeholders regarding the need to have some side covering due to the impact of wind. The officials were very clear that the proposal is still for an outdoor space and that once there are draft designs to show to the members this would be done. In my view we should be able to view any proposal in full before a final decision is made on a stop or go with this project. Deciding now without giving the public a chance to see what is being proposed, I believe would be wrong.
What's wrong with our Water?
The meeting concluded with a discussion on the water issue in the area. Councillors are inundated with complaints about the water in the area being dirty, smelling bad and tasting awful. Communications from Irish Water have been mixed and worrying. The Councillors called on the officials to raise the issue with Irish Water, the HSE and internal Departments within the local authority and for the matter to be given urgent attention to provide some assurances to the public