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  • Southside

Locals fight to safeguard woodland

Wednesday, 20th November, 2019 8:00am
Locals fight to safeguard  woodland
Locals fight to safeguard  woodland

Aine O'Boyle

LOCAL councillors have expressed concerns regarding the potential destruction of up to 10,000 trees in the Four Districts Woodland, a green area popular with Southsiders that is located between Rathcoole and Saggart.

A South Dublin County Council (SDCC) proposal to construct 250 new homes on the Rathcoole sector of the woodland has been met with strong opposition from a number of councillors and locals in the area.

At the recent monthly council meeting of the Lucan/Palmerstown/Fonthill Area, Cllr Paul Gogarty (Ind) stated his concerns over the removal of the trees.

According to Cllr Gogarty, “cutting down up to 10,000 native trees that have developed over a period is environmental vandalism that flies in the face of our climate-change strategy”.

In a previous Clondalkin Area Committee meeting in September, Cllr Peter Kavanagh (GP) called on the council to reverse a decision not to carry out a biodiversity study ahead of the proposed development.

Cllr Gogarty believes such a study would allow the matter to go to “consultation” before a final vote by councillors.

“An aerial view of the lands shows how dense the site location for housing is,” Cllr Gogarty said.

“The plan should be scrapped immediately and pre-consultation sought for any development that potentially might take place on the unwooded side in a few years.”

A council spokesperson told Southside People that they were working on a masterplan for the lands at Rathcoole that could include a number of new homes, parks, a school, library and playing pitches.

“As part of this process the council is carrying out environmental, transport and archaeological assessments to inform the proposal,” the spokesperson said.

The council also stated that should a planning application be progressed in the future, it would need to be prepared in line with and assessed against all relevant planning policy and legislation.

In terms of the current demand for housing within Dublin, Cllr Gogarty recommended that the council instead pursue greenfield sites or unused industrial land to build on.

“The Clonburris SDZ [Strategic Development Zones] area lands can now accommodate up to 3,000 more homes than originally thought, so there’s one area,” he said.

“And adjoining these lands is privately owned residential land so a deal could be done to deliver a social, affordable and private mix there.”

The Four Districts Woodland Group have also petitioned to ensure that the woodlands remain protected and carefully managed as climate change becomes a more pressing issue.

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here