SDCC Concept Plan 2021

South Dublin County Council (SDCC) went back to the drawing board. They came to a land arrangement with the Department of Education (Dept. Ed.) and the Gaelic Athletics Association (GAA). A new master plan was made. They called it a Concept: appendix 2a Rathcoole lands framework concept and zoning proposals.

The Concept shifts development off a substantial area of Woodland, alluvial woodland owned by SDCC. The Concept moved east into Rathcoole Park. To compensate for loss of land, and to move off the SDCC owned woodland, 4 ha of Rathcoole Park is now in scope. The development is moved into the Dept. of Education land and the GAA land. The school is positioned between the two developments and straddles Rathcoole Park, SDCC land and GAA land.
Most of the Park area within the plan is Wildflower Meadow, including a confirmed 1 ha of Annex habitat lowland hay meadow. There is at least another 1 ha of Annex habitat lowland hay meadow given that the management is similar.
The biggest challenge facing the Concept is access. There is no suitable access. Therefore, to access the site and also to meet the target number of houses, 0.5 ha of alluvial woodland on the SDCC land needs to be removed. This is to remain zoned Res-N for that reason.
Another 2.1 ha of alluvial woodland currently owned by the GAA is proposed to be zoned Res-N.
2 ha of immature trees are to remain zoned Open Space. But the Concept indicates that these areas are to become GAA pitches, with associated Pavilion and car parking.
As a result, 51,000 trees / 4.6 ha of woodland are in the way of the SDCC driven Concept.

The zoning proposed by SDCC is problematic. Zoning the SDCC owned Alluvial Woodland RU (Rural Amenity) will not protect it from road development. Encircling the SDCC owned Alluvial Woodland with Res N zoning does not support good connectivity with Rathcoole Park. 2.6 ha of Alluvial Woodland to be zoned Res N is not acceptable. We are gravely concerned with this block like approach to zoning shown in the Concept, cutting connection between the SDCC owned Alluvial Woodland and the Park. We are gravely concerned that the “balance the books” approach adopted is considered protecting the Woodland. What the Zoning and the Concept is saying is: if a habitat is not annex habitat, it is not worthy of protection, if a Woodland habitat is immature, it is okay to cut off its future potential. We say: Save All the Trees. Zone All the Area High Amenity Now!