700 houses announced for Rathnew?

It was reported in the current edition of the Sunday Independent newspaper dated 20/3/2016 that Ardale properties are acquiring land near Tinakilly in Rathnew for development. Seemingly they are going to build a brand new village consisting of 700 houses according to the article.

Rathnew To Get a Neighbour Maybe?

This article brings up a lot of questions. CLICK on the picture below to see the article full size.


Firstly why is such a huge development only getting a tiny section of a much bigger article? The rest of the article goes on about NAMA developers and a row between developer Michael O’Flynn and NAMA which has nothing to do with Ardale.

Click on the map below to see the area in question full size

Rathnew Tinakilly

Secondly it doesn’t mention the whole plethora of services that this new village will need. How are these people going live? Will there be shops, leisure services etc? Will we have to pay for water provision?

Thirdly the article refers to Rathnew as being in North Wicklow which would require some expert spin and geographical gymnastics to achieve. It could be said it is in North Wicklow but it is a real stretch.

The last point is the biggest and most important in my opinion. how are people going to get in and out of this new urban concentration? 700 private houses with 20% social housing (Yeah right) will equate to somewhere between 1000 and 1500 extra vehicles. Not to mention public transport buses.

Click on map below to see the R750 in full size

R750 Rathnew Wicklow Road

This massive amount of traffic cannot possibly be routed onto the current R750 or the Rathnew Wicklow road as it is known. The road cannot take that amount of traffic. The R750 really cannot be widened without widespread cost and disruption. A flyover to the Broomhall road isn’t feasible either because the roads it leads too are too small also.

This means that this land locked development will lead to another Charlesland situation. While housing and homelessness is a humanitarian catastrophe at the moment in Wicklow it is in nobodies interest to go down that road again (pun intended).

In Charlesland a new road had to be built to facilitate a 1500 dwelling development by Sean Dunne and Sean Mulryans Zapi construction firm. While a section of this road belongs to both men according to the land registry. Some of the land needed for the road belonged to the IDA which they bought.

SARThe rest was land belonging to Wicklow County Council zoned for social housing. The council land needed for the road would have provided approximately 117 social housing dwellings much needed in the Greystones and Kilcoole area.

A material contravention of the county development plan was presented to the council get the council land rezoned for the purposes of facilitating the new road to Charlesland. This motion was voted down by the councillors. The disposal of the land went ahead. Unfortunately I cannot find a County Council meeting agenda showing this disposal or the minutes showing a vote on this disposable which is required under section 183 of the Local Government Act.

This disposal must have happened as I have a copy of an agreement signed by the parties regarding this piece of land I just can’t find it. I would be very worried if this didn’t happen as Deputy Joe Higgins eluded to in his questioning of Sean Mulryan at the banking enquiry. Here is that questioning.

This of course left 117 families at a loss of that many social houses. The cost at the time of replacing this social houses elsewhere in the Greystones area would have been about €11 million based on a value of about €100,000 per site value in Greystones 2003. So they’re are real victims in solutions like this. Real people with real needs. It isnt just the almost €100 million cost of this road.

InterchangeI also can’t find a roads report needed by An Board Pleanala for planning permission as I’m sure with a development this big the council demanded. All of this doesnt include the interchange with the N11, discovered previously unknown dump during works or the Ransom Strip Value of the land. That is really a story for another day.

Back to the proposed development at Tinakilly in Rathnew. Although we have nothing but a few lines in a Sunday Newspaper to go on we must assume that this new village will require a road running to the M11 possibly to the roundabout on the Rathnew side of the M11 Junction 16.

This will require lands running behind and / or through the Wicklow County Campus owned by Wicklow County Council and possible other lands behind Rathnew. Its hard to judge without any detail yet.

While the announcement of any housing at all is to be much welcomed I think this development needs to be scrutinised from a public interest point of view to ensure that the same problems encountered with the SAR road to the Zapi Charlesland development don’t happen again. It is also important we make sure that any development pays for its own access to any land locked piece of land taking into account any Ransom Strip Value of public owned property.