Appendix 1: Strategy for St. Margaret's special policy area

closeddate_range3 Sep, 2019, 9:00am - 15 Oct, 2019, 5:00pm

1.0 INTRODUCTION

St. Margaret’s lies immediately to the west of the Dublin Airport (‘DA’) zoned lands within close proximity of existing airport infrastructure. The review of the Dublin Airport Local Area Plan affords Fingal County Council the opportunity to advance a strategy for the ‘Special Policy Area’ of St. Margaret’s within the provisions of the current FDP 2017-2023. Specifically, Local Objective 61 seeks to, ‘Prepare a strategy for St. Margaret’s Special Policy Area’ and Objective DA28 seeks to, ‘Prepare a strategy for ‘St. Margaret’s Special Policy Area’ involving consultation between the existing community, Fingal County Council and the Dublin Airport Authority.’

1.1 THE STUDY AREA

The ‘Special Policy Area’ of St. Margaret’s as designated in the current Fingal Development Plan 2017- 2023 is focused on a small linear settlement located c. 7 kms to the south-west of Swords, in the rural area of the County, off the R122 Killsallaghan/Oldtown Road and immediately to the west of the Dublin Airport ‘DA’ zoned lands. St. Margaret’s Church, Parochial House, Parochial Hall and St. Margaret’s National School are centrally located within the policy area with existing residential development to the north and south of the existing centre.

This area was first designated as a ‘Special Policy Area’ in the FDP 2005- 2011 and transposed into subsequent development plans. The findings of the South Fingal Planning Study 2004 contributed to the formulation of the policies and objectives of the Fingal Development Plan 2005-2011 and the Dublin Airport Local Area Plan 2005. This was a study prepared by a consortium of consultants on behalf of Fingal County Council, which provided an overall strategy for the proper planning and sustainable development of South Fingal.

The primary aim of this study was ‘to advise on a strategic “vision” and planning framework for South Fingal to 2011’. Specially, this study set the policy context for designating the ‘Special Policy Area’ of St. Margaret’s with the requirement to prepare a future strategy for the area based on consultation between Fingal County Council, local residents and relevant airport stakeholders.

The majority of the lands within this ‘Special Policy Area’ are zoned ‘RU’, Rural, within the current FDP 2017-2023 where the zoning vision seeks to protect and promote the value of the rural area of the County. The remaining lands on the southern and western extremities of the policy area are zoned ‘GB’,-Greenbelt, where the zoning vision seeks to protect and provide for a greenbelt. This area of greenbelt forms part of the wider strategic greenbelt between the Airport lands and the extensive rural lands of the north County.

Figure A1 - St. Margaret’s Special Policy Area

The close proximity of St. Margaret’s to runway infrastructure is acknowledged. In this context, the policy area lies within Zone A (ie. the Airport Inner Noise Zone) and the majority of the policy area is outside the Outer Airport Public Safety Zone. Housing provision in the ‘Special Policy Area’ is guided by Fingal’s Rural Settlement Strategy as set out in Section 5.2 of the FDP 2017-2023. In the context of the rural zoning objectives of the area and its location within Zone A (ie. the Airport Inner Noise Zone), new residential development is actively resisted within the policy area with the exception for those who are actively engaged in farming.

Indicative road proposals as set out in the FDP 2017-2023 include the Swords Western Relief Road and the indicative Airport Western Access Road from the N2/M2 corridor, all to the west of the policy area.

1.2 PUBLIC CONSULTATION OUTCOMES

In the context of formulating a strategy for the policy area, Fingal County Council invited community representatives from the St. Margaret’s area to engage and collaborate through a series of workshops over 2017 and 2019. These workshops provided an opportunity for candid and detailed discussions on the many issues concerning St. Margaret’s and gave a very real picture of what is important to the existing community. The feedback received during the formal pre-draft LAP consultation process as well as the views expressed through the additional engagement process of the Visioning Portal – yourairportviews.fingal.ie – were also valuable in identifying the issues relevant to the policy area and in formulating the relevant strategy. Discussions also took place with daa in the context of preparing a strategy for the policy area as required under objective DA28 of the FDP 2017-2023. daa will continue to engage and work with neighbouring airport communities such as St. Margaret’s through the various formal and informal engagement forums and will continue to support future community initiatives through their Community Fund.

Two general but opposing views emerge from the feedback regarding the specific policy area of St. Margaret’s. On the one hand, there is a considerable degree of uncertainty regarding the future of the policy area and considerable doubt regarding its co-existence, particularly in the context of its close proximity to runway infrastructure and the future growth of the Airport which includes proposed strategic roads infrastructure to the west of the Airport to facilitate future airport growth. This uncertainty is further compounded by the restrictions on the provision of new housing in the policy area and the lack of investment in infrastructure and the physical fabric of the area in recent years.

Parallel to this, there is a realistic acceptance of airport growth, an overwhelming sentiment and strong sense of commitment towards the settlement and a very strong desire to remain in the area. In the context of the latter, there is a need for a co-ordinated approach on behalf of all relevant stakeholders towards the enhancement of the area to benefit those living and continuing to live in this area. On this basis, Fingal County Council has prepared a strategy for the ‘Special Policy Area of St. Margaret’s’.

Feedback received from the local community questioned the merit of preparing this strategy in the context of the indicative nature of future road proposals for the area, with particular reference to the proposed Swords Western Relief Road and the proposed Airport Western Access Road. Based on recommendations set out in the South Fingal Transport Study 2019, the Swords Western Relief Road is envisaged as a longer-term proposal and outside the lifetime of this Dublin Airport LAP. The Airport Western Access Road, as set out in the South Fingal Transport Study 2019 is identified as a key infrastructural requirement to facilitate airport growth during the lifetime of the Dublin Airport LAP. These indicative roads proposals will be subject to detailed feasibility, route selection, design, environmental appraisal and planning through a separate statutory procedure which will involve statutory public consultation, affording the opportunity to the community of St. Margaret’s to engage within this process.

Notwithstanding the indicative nature of these future road schemes, this strategy sets the framework for the overall physical and socio-cultural enhancement of St. Margaret’s and in doing so underpins and reinforces the future of St. Margaret’s, particularly, in the context of future airport growth and future roads infrastructure to serve the Airport.

1.3 AIMS OF THE STRATEGY FOR THE ‘SPECIAL POLICY AREA’ OF ST. MARGARET’S

The important feedback and analysis of existing conditions were central in helping to identify the focus of this strategy. Feedback, where relevant and feasible, was considered in the formulation of the strategy. In this regard, the aims of the strategy for the ‘Special Policy Area’ of St. Margaret’s are centred on:

  • Support for the existing community through the continued use and enhancement of existing community facilities and services.

  • The creation of a high quality central open space for a combination of active and passive uses based on the principles of shared community infrastructure.

  • Enhancement of the public realm through a focused and considered approach.

  • Protection and promotion of the cultural and natural heritage features that contributes to the identity of St. Margaret’s.

  • Co-ordination with other stakeholders to improve the local environment.

  • Acknowledgment of the restrictions faced by those not involved in farming and who have family homes in Zone A (ie. the Airport Inner Noise Zone).

1.4 LOCAL ENHANCEMENT ACTION PLAN

The overall aim of this strategy is to provide guidance, outlining the potentials of the policy area and the possible ways that those potentials may be realised with an end goal to enhance the physical environment and to improve the socio-cultural aspects of the community in the short and medium-term. While the strategy provides a high level approach for the area, it also centres the attention on a number of focus areas. The focus areas explored in this strategy seek to strengthen and enhance the attributes which have been identified as key contributing elements determining the distinctive physical and social character of St. Margaret’s.

Specifically, the focus areas identified for community and environmental enhancement will instigate discussion and allow their detailed development through a future ‘Local Enhancement Action Plan’ prepared by Fingal County Council for the policy area. As a design-led document, it will ensure a cohesive and considered approach to the enhancement of the policy area. This plan will involve further consultation with the local community and other relevant stakeholders towards the ultimate goal of delivering tangible projects on the ground that will impact on St. Margaret’s policy area in a positive way. This plan will also address priority actions, funding options and a realistic delivery programme which is considered essential to the success of environmental and community projects. The delivery of such projects will require the attention and co-operation of community representatives, various property owners, Fingal County Council and other relevant stakeholders. Consideration should be given to public/private joint ventures where community projects could benefit from adjoining private lands.

OBJECTIVE LEAP1

Commence preparation of a ‘Local Enhancement Action Plan’ for the ‘Special Policy Area’ of St. Margaret’s within 12 months of the adoption of the Dublin Airport Local Area Plan, in consultation with the local community and other relevant stakeholders based on the focus areas identified in this strategy for St. Margaret’s. This plan shall address priority actions, funding and a delivery programme for proposed environmental and community enhancement projects.

1.5 IDENTIFICATION OF FOCUS AREAS

Local involvement by the community of St. Margaret’s has proven to be central in the development of the strategy for the policy area. The identification of the proposed focus areas that follow is a direct outcome of active community participation and consultation.

PROPOSED FOCUS AREAS:

  1. Enhancement of Community Facilities and Services-Parochial Hall Complex.

  2. Provision of a High-Quality Open Space and Improved Linkages.

  3. Environmental Enhancement – Improvements to the existing Public Realm.

  4. Protection and Promotion of Natural and Cultural Heritage - Dunsoghly Castle Complex.

Figure A2 - Proposed Focus Areas

I) COMMUNITY FACILITIES AND SERVICES – PAROCHIAL HALL COMPLEX

Figure A3 - Parochial Hall

Figure A4 - Existing Outbuilding to rear of the Parochial Hall

Community facilities in St. Margaret’s are limited but are well supported by the community. The Church of St. Margaret’s, a 19th century Catholic Church, is an attractive vernacular building and Protected Structure that features as the main focal point for the settlement.

Currently, the main community facility in the study area is provided by St. Margaret’s Parochial Hall, which serves as a meeting place for community groups and events. This hall, formerly the old church, together with St. Margaret’s Church occupies a central location in the policy area and overlooks the attractive central square. The existing Parochial Hall and associated lands immediately to the rear of the hall comprises a vernacular outbuilding and an area of attractive open space bounded by mature trees. The Parochial Hall and associated lands are within church ownership.

It is considered that the Parochial Hall Complex offers the potential to create a high-quality attractive community space given the appropriate interventions. The existing hall is currently limited in space and in need of refurbishment. The provision and access to such facilities is important in providing the local community with opportunities to meet and interact. In this regard, the refurbishment and the potential extension of the existing Parochial Hall would provide an opportunity for staging a wide range of cultural activities and community events for St. Margaret’s and the wider community. Such a facility should have flexible floor space to accommodate a variety of uses such as meeting rooms, exhibition space and performance space. The undeveloped lands to the rear of the existing hall presents the opportunity for the potential future extension of the Parochial Hall as well as the sensitive redevelopment of its vernacular outbuilding for additional community use(s) such as a community café or other appropriate community use(s) where the community can meet and interact.

The small Square located off Main Street is an attractive open space over- looked by St. Margaret’s Church, Parochial House and Parochial Hall and the attractive cottage dwelling, the former school teacher’s house. Currently, the Square provides for car-parking for the adjoining church and national school. The refurbishment of the Parochial Hall for community activities would provide for an enhanced venue for a wider range of community activities and events that could spill out onto the Square, utilising this space beyond its current function. The Square could also facilitate other events such as a farmer’s market. The space immediately opposite St. Margaret’s Church and in church ownership contains ‘The Belfry’ associated with the church which was erected in the 1930’s. This space requires environmental enhancement works to clearly define this space and to showcase the existing belfry. The enhancement of these lands would serve to enliven this centrally located space and generate a much-improved relationship to the square and adjacent buildings. The vernacular walls adjoining the Square are in need of repair and upgrade. These works can be carried out as part of any future improvements to the public realm.

The feasibility for the future refurbishment and extension of the Parochial Hall as well as the potential for the redevelopment of the vernacular outbuilding for community use(s) will be explored as part of the socio- cultural aspect of the future ‘Local Enhancement Action Plan’ in consultation with the relevant church authorities and the local community. The future management of any new improved community facilities could be considered in the context of a community led approach.

II) HIGH QUALITY PUBLIC OPEN SPACE

Figure A5 - High Quality Public Open Space Schematic

The analysis of the policy area clearly shows the lack of public open space provision for active and recreational uses to serve the existing community. St. Margaret’s National School which currently accommodates c. 100 students and where student numbers have increased steadily in the last 20 years currently use the existing Parochial Hall to facilitate their physical education programme. Given the absence of public space provision and the limitations of the current school site, it is considered that the development of a new high quality open space for a combination of recreational uses within the centre of the policy area would be of significant benefit to the school and its student population and the wider community.

The undeveloped lands to the north and north-east of St. Margaret’s National School offers the optimum location to develop a high-quality open space with a complimentary range of recreational uses within the centre of the policy area. These lands offer direct connectivity to the existing school and allow for a high degree of passive surveillance. The provision of a Multi- Use Games Area [MUGA], all weather facility within this new open space would provide opportunities for a wide range of active recreational uses. Provision of direct pedestrian access to St. Margaret’s National School would provide safe off-road access to the school during school hours. The provision of a MUGA facility would operate on the basis of shared community infrastructure.

Certain locations throughout this new open space could provide the opportunity to establish ecological zones. These ecological zones would encourage plants to naturalise, creating and increasing a diversity of habitats. With the national school in close proximity, these ecological zones would provide an educational benefit, encouraging nature classroom visits to the garden. Incidental play elements could be strategically positioned throughout. These elements can take the form of natural or sculptural pieces that enhance the appearance of the open space and may reflect the heritage/culture of the area. The potential range of uses within this open space area would be developed in consultation with the local community.

Fingal County Council currently own 0.2 hectares of lands to the north-east of existing school lands. The lands in the immediate vicinity of the school to the north are currently within private ownership. Fingal County Council will explore opportunities to address landownership issues with a view to acquiring appropriate lands for the development of this new central public open space.

COMMUNITY FACILITIES, SERVICES AND PUBLIC OPEN SPACE OBJECTIVES
OBJECTIVE CF1

Facilitate and co-operate with the community and other relevant stakeholders towards the enhancement and provision of community facilities and services to serve the existing community.

OBJECTIVE CF2

Promote and facilitate the sympathetic refurbishment of the existing ‘Parochial Hall’ and examine the feasibility for the extension of this existing community facility.

OBJECTIVE CF3

Support and encourage the sympathetic refurbishment of the existing vernacular outbuilding to the rear of the existing Parochial Hall for additional community uses.

OBJECTIVE CF4

Encourage and facilitate the provision of a new high quality open space feature in the centre of St. Margaret’s for a combination of active and passive recreational uses.

OBJECTIVE CF5

Encourage and facilitate the development of a ‘Multi-Use Games Area’ in the vicinity of the school with appropriate pedestrian linkages.

III) ENVIRONMENTAL ENHANCEMENT – IMPROVEMENTS TO THE PUBLIC REALM

The need for improvements to the physical environment of the policy area [namely the public realm] was clearly identified by the local community. The public realm consists of the main street, footpaths, street furniture and landscape elements. A key aim of this strategy is to improve the quality of the public realm. The ‘Local Enhancement Action Plan’ will seek to address existing deficiencies and to promote proposals for public realm enhancements. The ‘Local Enhancement Action Plan’ will also seek to address the physical disconnect that exists between the east and west of Main Street to create a more accessible and inviting centre that is integrated with its surroundings.

ENVIRONMENTAL ENHANCEMENT OBJECTIVES
OBJECTIVE EE1

Encourage and facilitate environmental improvements to the physical fabric of the policy area.

OBJECTIVE EE2

Prepare a set of design principles for the public realm as part of the ‘Local Enhancement Action Plan’ to guide environmental improvements in the area.

IV) PROTECTION AND PROMOTION OF CULTURAL AND NATURAL HERITAGE

Within the policy area, the presence of the landscape is prominent with a backdrop of mature trees and hedgerows and with the buildings of character, generates the special identity and the local distinctiveness of place that defines St. Margaret’s. The preservation of the cultural heritage assets, both built and natural, of the area is seen as a key priority for the local community. St. Margaret’s offers a rich history and a wealth of built heritage assets that contributes to the local character and sense of identity of the area. The FDP 2017 - 2023 recognises the importance of identifying, valuing and safeguarding the cultural heritage of Fingal for future generations and in this regard, the aim of this strategy is centred on the protection and promotion of the cultural heritage assets of St. Margaret’s.

Table A.1 Built Heritage Assets within and adjoining St. Margaret’s

BUILT HERITAGE FEATURE

NATIONAL MONUMENT

RECORDED MONUMENT

PROTECTED STRUCTURE

St.Margaret’s Church

 

 

0625

Parochial Hall

 

DU014-004

 

St. Bridget’s Well

 

DU014-003

0624

St. Margaret’s Church (in Ruins) & Graveyard, Chantry Chapel, Historic grave markers & 18th century mausoleum to Morgan Family.

 

DU014-002001/03

0626

Dunsoghly Castle Intact four- storey 15th century Tower House; Single-storey Chapel with date stone Bawn wall of a former 16th/17th dwelling.

No. 230

DU014-005001

DU014-005002

DU014-005006

0623

The Square and its surrounding heritage buildings represent an area of significant character and the main space that defines St. Margaret’s. To protect the overall character and setting of the Square, the ‘Local Enhancement Action Plan’ shall assess the merit of designating this area an Architectural Conservation Area. The review of the Record Protected Structures (RPS) is an ongoing process. Additions to the RPS can continue to be made throughout the life of the Fingal Development Plan under Section 55 of the Planning and Development Act 2019. Notwithstanding, any future refurbishment of heritage buildings adjoining the Square would require a sensitive and sympathetic approach in consultation with the Council’s Conservation Officer given its special character.

Figure A6 - St. Margaret’s Church, the Square and existing Cottage Dwelling

Dunsoghly Castle Complex to the south-west of the policy area has to be acknowledged for the important part it plays in the history of St. Margaret’s. Dunsoghly Castle, a National Monument (No. 230), Recorded Monument [DU014-005001] and Protected Structure (ref: 0623) is a well preserved four storey tower house with associated medieval structures including the bawn wall of a former 16th/17th dwelling (Recorded Monument DU014- 005006) and a chapel (Recorded Monument DU014-005002) with inscribed stone plaque dated 15th century (Recorded Monument DU014-005005). The tower house which was the seat of the Plunkett family is a significant feature in its rural setting and is one of the finest examples of 15th century architecture in the Country with the majority of its medieval timber roof structure still intact. The tower house which is in state ownership and associated structures are under the care and management of the OPW and the National Monuments Service. Dunsoghly Castle is located within private farm lands.

The current FDP 2017-2023 recognises the special significance of Dunsoghly Castle complex and its potential as a future heritage attraction. The ‘Conservation and Development Study 2012’ for Dunsoghly Castle was prepared as a collaboration between relevant heritage stakeholders, the landowner, Fingal County Council and the local community. This study promotes the development of Dunsoghly Castle Complex as a future tourist attraction with the development of complimentary ancillary facilities such as an open farm/farm shop/tea rooms on adjoining lands. It is acknowledged that the issue of access rights would need to be addressed with the current landowner in the context of achieving permanent access to the lands.

Dunsoghly Castle and Farm has the potential to attract multiple audiences and the various visitor profiles should form the basis for any future planned complimentary attractions. Given its location with easy access to the national road network, Dunsoghly Castle and Farm has the potential to be particularly attractive to the domestic Dublin market. In this regard, Dunsoghly Castle Complex presents a major opportunity for the development of this significant heritage asset and farm as an attractor to the area. The advancement of this tourist project shall be set as a priority objective of the proposed ‘’Local Enhancement Action Plan’.

Coupled with the preservation of built heritage, the promotion of the rich history associated with the area and its heritage is of key importance to the local community. While it is the role of the Fingal Development Plan to protect this built heritage, the ‘Local Enhancement Action Plan’ shall explore means of celebrating it. One of the means of doing such is to develop an historic/information board for the area incorporating and celebrating the area’s history and heritage. A simple measure, it publically promotes the history associated with the area, and provides reference information for each of the heritage buildings.

CULTURAL HERITAGE OBJECTIVES
OBJECTIVE CH1

Preserve, protect and enhance the natural, built and cultural heritage features that form the basis of local attractions for St. Margaret’s.

OBJECTIVE CH2

Protect those buildings and structures of archaeological, architectural or historic importance and the settings thereof, which are indicated on the Record of Monuments & Places, Record of Protected Structures and in the current Fingal Development Plan 2017-2023.

OBJECTIVE CH3

Retain, appreciate and revitalise appropriately the vernacular heritage of St. Margaret’s by deterring the replacement of good quality vernacular buildings with modern structures and by protecting (through the use of ACAs, the RPS and in the normal course of development management) vernacular buildings where they contribute to the character of the area.

OBJECTIVE CH4

Promote and facilitate the preservation of Dunsoghly Castle Complex and the appropriate and sympathetic development of this important heritage asset as a future heritage attraction having regard to the special significance of the site, in consultation with the appropriate heritage bodies and other relevant stakeholders.

OBJECTIVE CH5

Support and facilitate the interpretation of important archaeological, architectural and historic features of the area.

OBJECTIVE CH6

Support the appropriate and sympathetic provision of noise insulation to St. Margaret’s Church in consultation with relevant church and heritage bodies.

OBJECTIVE CH7

Promote the conservation, enhancement, public access and enjoyment of the archaeological, natural and built heritage as important elements in the enhancement of the area.

1.6 IMPROVING LINKAGES

Feedback from the local community identified that the local area is not well linked in terms of pedestrian circulation and the circulation routes that exist are disjointed and lack legibility. One of the new route options identified during consultation with the local community included the creation of a new pedestrian link between St. Margaret’s GAA Club and St. Margaret’s policy area given the important and central role the club plays in the lives of the existing community.

Ease of movement within and around St. Margaret’s is vital to building an attractive, safe and user-friendly public realm. A key challenge for the area is the creation of a pleasant and accessible walking environment. Options to improve pedestrian linkages within and around the policy area will be explored as part of the ‘Local Enhancement Action Plan’.

The development of Dunsoghly Castle and Farm has the potential to stimulate the local area including the community of St. Margaret’s. In this regard, a pedestrian link from Dunsoghly Castle to St. Margaret’s policy area is proposed, via the existing Newtown Cottages. Existing footpaths in the vicinity of Newtown Cottages and St. Margaret’s can be utilised together with new sections of footpath close to the entrance of Dunsoghly Castle to achieve this future connecting pedestrian link. The proposed pedestrian link would connect and facilitate easy access between Dunsoghly Castle Complex and St. Margaret’s and all they have to offer, particularly, in relation to heritage amenities.

In terms of public transport linkages, services to the area are currently limited. The Dublin Bus Service Route 40B Dublin City Centre to Toberburr currently serves St. Margaret’s with bus stops outside the school and church. There is currently no public transport link from St. Margaret’s to Swords or other towns and villages with the County. The ‘Local Link’ bus service established under the Rural Transport Programme provides bus transport for rural residents supporting communities in Ballyboughal, Oldtown and Naul to access public services, employment, training, health, social facilities and other services. The Rural Transport Programme provides an invaluable service and the frequency of services and new and expanded routes should be increased to provide the local community with an alternative means of transport to the private car. In this context, a major opportunity exists by way of an extension of the current local link service from Swords Town Centre to Knocksedan and onwards to St. Margaret’s and the surrounding areas. Currently, representatives from St. Margaret’s are actively engaging with the relevant local link transport providers in this regard.

OBJECTIVE IL1

Examine the feasibility of improved pedestrian linkages and circulation routes within St. Margaret’s.

OBJECTIVE IL2

Promote and facilitate a connecting pedestrian link between Dunsoghly Castle Complex and St. Margaret’s policy area.

OBJECTIVE IL3

Support and encourage public transport providers to enhance the provision of public transportation services to St. Margaret’s and to support and facilitate rural community transport initiatives where possible, aimed at providing new services through the area, enhancing and expanding existing services.

Whilst this strategy concludes at this point in the Local Area Plan process, it merely marks the beginning of the overall process through the ‘Local Enhancement Action Plan’ where the proposed focus areas will be brought from outline concept to detailed design in consultation with the local community and other relevant stakeholders. Following the preparation of this plan by Fingal County Council, the Community Liaison Group [CLG] is considered the most appropriate forum to advance the various environmental and community enhancement projects that will emerge from the proposed ‘Local Enhancement Action Plan’.

1.7 HOUSING AND ST. MARGARET’S SPECIAL POLICY AREA

One of the foremost concerns identified during feedback relates to the current housing restrictions as they relate to the Airport Inner Noise Zone where new housing for non-farm family members is actively resisted. Options identified by the community in view of these current restrictions include, (i) designating a new alternative location within the rural zoned lands of the north County to cater for the future housing needs of St. Margaret’s as well as (i) an increase in the area where housing can be considered for non-farm family members outside the Airport Inner Noise Zone.

The Rural Settlement Strategy as set out in the Fingal Development Plan 2017-2023 recognises the need to provide for housing for the rural community but limits the amount of housing in the open countryside and provides for alternative options within the rural area either in the rural villages or rural clusters as a more sustainable and suitable location for rural generated housing.

There are many rural villages within a close distance of the designated St. Margaret’s Special Policy Area. These villages are zoned ‘RV’ rural village in the current Fingal Development Plan 2017-2023 with the objective to ‘Protect and promote the character of the Rural Village and promote a vibrant community in accordance with an approved Local Area Plan, and the availability of physical and community infrastructure’. Settlement within the designated Rural Villages will continue to be open to all.

Most of these villages as set out below have adopted Local area Plans [LAP’s] in place and these LAP’s are accompanied by Village Development Framework Plans [VDFP’s] which clearly illustrate how these villages will develop and how they will look once they are built out. All of these villages have the capacity to provide for a wide choice of residential accommodation including larger serviced sites.

Serviced sites provide for a particular need within the rural community for sites where houses are designed to meet the applicant’s own requirements. The purpose of designated serviced sites, within the villages is to meet people’s needs for house sites on which they can develop individual or ‘one-off’ houses designed to meet the applicant’s own requirements.

The allocation of housing numbers for each of these Rural Villages have been thoroughly analysed and addressed within the context of the Core Strategy of the FDP 2017-2023 for the County. Having examined the outstanding development potential in these villages, considerable development opportunity exists within these villages, where the vast majority of development areas identified in the LAP’s remain undeveloped to date [Table A.2 refers]. In this context, there is a sufficient quantum of readily available and serviced zoned lands available within Fingal’s Rural Villages offering an attractive housing alternative and a wide choice of residential accommodation including larger serviced sites.

In addition to the rural villages, there are 37 designated Rural Clusters across the County where members of the rural community can live as an alternative to housing in the open countryside. Settlement within these rural clusters is open to members of the rural community within St. Margaret’s subject to specified criteria as set out in the Rural Settlement Strategy as it relates to Rural Clusters.

Table A.2 Fingal’s Rural Villages and Future Development Potential

RURAL VILLAGE

LAP STATUS

EXPIRY DATE

POTENTIAL INFILL**

Coolquay

Pending*

-

17 hectares

Rivermeade

Adopted

May 2024

16 hectares

Rowlestown

Adopted

May 2019

30 hectares

Kinsealy

Adopted

May 2025

3 hectares

Ballymadun

Pending

 

16 hectares

Ballyboghil

Adopted

May 2022

16 hectares

Oldtown

Adopted

May 2022

7 hectares

Garristown

Adopted

July 2020

16 hectares

Naul

Adopted

April 2021

5 hectares

Balscadden

Pending

-

6 hectares

* it is a priority of FCC to prepare an LAP for the village within the lifetime of the Fingal Development Plan 2017-2023.
** Figures May 2019

Housing provision in the ‘Special Policy Area’ of St. Margaret’s is guided by Fingal’s Rural Settlement Strategy as set out in Section 5.2 of the FDP 2017- 2023 and specifically under Objectives RF40 and RF41 in the context of the rural zoning objectives of the area and its location within Zone A (ie. the Airport Inner Noise Zone) where new housing provision is actively resisted with the exception for those who are actively engaged in farming. This is to ensure the avoidance of conflict between airport operations and land uses and to ensure that new developments will not be subject to unacceptable levels of aviation generated noise and unduly impact on residential amenity. In this regard, the current housing provisions are considered appropriate.

As an alternative, consideration is currently given to the development of new housing for those not involved in farming but who have family homes within Zone A (ie. the Airport Inner Noise Zone) in locations on suitable sites outside the Airport Inner Noise Zone but within two kilometres from that noise zone and subject to an M1 east/west stipulation. To ensure that the need to live as close as possible to the existing family is met and to avoid undue pressure on certain areas of the Greenbelt, the M1 provides an east-west boundary, with those living to the east being considered for housing on suitable sites to the east, and those living to the west being considered for housing on suitable sites to the west. Site selection should ensure that the rural character of the area is maintained and that multiple sites on single landholdings are avoided.

Objective RF40 of the FDP 2017-2023 specifically seeks to, ‘Apply the provisions of the Rural Settlement Strategy, only with regard to ‘New Housing for Farming Families’ as set out within this chapter, within the Airport Inner Noise Zone, and subject to the following restrictions:

  • Under no circumstances shall any dwelling be permitted within the predicted 69dB LAeq 16 hours noise contour.

  • Comprehensive noise insulation shall be required for any house permitted under this objective.

  • Any planning application shall be accompanied by a noise assessment report produced by a specialist in noise assessment which shall specify all proposed noise mitigation measures together with a declaration of acceptance of the applicant with regard to the result of the noise acceptance report.’

Objective RF41 of the FDP 2017-2023 specifically seeks to, ‘Apply the provisions of the Rural Settlement Strategy as it applies to “New Housing for the Rural Community other than for those who are actively engaged in farming” for rural community members located within the Inner Noise Zone on suitable sites located within two kilometres outside the Inner Noise Zone. For those living to the east of the M1, only suitable sites located to the east of the M1 will be considered, and for those living to the west of the M1, only suitable sites located to the west of the M1 will be considered.’

To acknowledge the restrictions faced by those not involved in farming and have family homes in Zone A (ie. Airport Inner Noise Zone) an increase in the area where housing can be considered is appropriate. In this regard, the current two kilometres requirement from the Airport Inner Noise Zone to an extended 5 kilometres is proposed. This will allow those outside farming to avail of a greater choice of alternative lands outside the Airport Inner Noise Zone to accommodate their housing need. In this regard, Fingal County Council propose a variation to the Fingal Development Plan 2017-2023.

Proposals for development under the rural housing policy will continue to be required to comply with other relevant FDP 2017-2023 provisions that are already in force, including various measures relating to environmental protection, environmental management and sustainable development as well as demonstrating a rural housing need.

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Build a open space feature right under the flight path?
My children attend St. Margaret’s National School. The noise from the aircraft in the schoolyard and playground must be having a detrimental impact on the health of the children attending the school...