County Development Plans

How the growth of Rathcoole is determined by County Development Plans

The development of Rathcoole is not a surprise. It has been planned. It has been set out in successive South Dublin County Council Development Plans. What has this to do with the proposed draft Master Plan for South Dublin County Council owned lands in Rathcoole? The master plan, if implemented, will no doubt influence the next County Development Plan given the facilities and associated infrastructure it promises. This also presents a different context to the Master Plan and the proposed residential development of the Woodland. It no longer just sits in the present, but has a future context as well.

Let us take a look at the past two South Dublin County Council Development Plans; 2004-2010, 2010-2016 and the present plan 2016-2022 (see maps below). Note the zoning of additional agricultural land to residential with each successive plan. Look at how the distributor road has moved and how rezoning of agricultural land to residential has occurred along its intended route. Both types of changes are particularly evident where Broadfield and Rathmills Estates are now located.

We know that lands along the distributor road are owned by developers. Developers buy land with the prospect of having them rezoned in the future. Any landowner can make a submission during the consultation process requesting land to be rezoned. This of course, substantially increases its value.

It is important to fully understand the land zonings and the definition of the use classes. For example, Objective OS – To preserve and provide for Open Space and Recreational Amenities: Open space relates to spaces that are predominantly free from development and have an element of public value or potential public value. Such spaces do not relate exclusively to lands and can include water bodies such as rivers, canals, lakes and reservoirs, which offer important opportunities for sports and recreation and can also act as a visual amenity. Open spaces include public or privately owned lands and passive and active amenity spaces. Surprisingly, uses includes Allotments, Community Centre, Cultural Use, Open Space, Recreational Facility, and Sports Club/Facility but also open to consideration for, shops, stadium, traveller accommodation, housing for older people, public services, among many other uses.

The next South Dublin County Development Plan will be for 2022-2028. A preliminary public consultation of this plan has already taken place. Further public consultations will take place for this in Summer 2021, including consultation on a Green Infrastructure Strategy. These could change the current context of Rathcoole.

How can we, the community of Rathcoole, shape Rathcoole’s future? As a first step, get familiar with the existing County Development Plan. Every step of the process is at:

You can also find out more about the upcoming County Development Plan 2022-28 at:

To understand our present, we must look at past decisions. To change our future, we must influence future decisions.