Now it’s the turn of Cllr Mags Crean who, like Fortune, voting against the building of 41 social houses on what many feel is a dangerous flood plain.
There’s quite a bit of background detail to this and the neighbouring site (such as the €7m raised going out-of-town), and we’ll be digging deeper here just after Christmas.
For now, here’s Mags Crean’s press release, issued on Tuesday, December 22nd 2020…
The recent vote to proceed with a housing development on the Three Trout site has given Wicklow County Council the green light to build on land that potentially places nearby housing estates at risk of increased flooding.
The vote also gives the go-ahead for plans to construct a bridge across the Three Trout stream.
There is a pressing need for social and affordable housing but it is time to start learning from mistakes of the past and acknowledge that meeting the need for housing involves more than just provision.
It is about providing quality-built homes on appropriate sites in a way that protects the environment and local residents.
Although well-intentioned, justifying this development on the basis of providing social housing does not explain building on land that potentially puts existing houses and residents at risk of flooding as well as threatening biodiversity with the construction of a bridge across the stream to access the houses, especially when alternative sites are available.
In 2017, the council presented councillors with a list of potential sites for social housing. Of particular note is the 22-acre council-owned site close to the proposed site, which could be developed in a more sustainable manner.
Looking at the bigger picture, there has been a high level of development in the area since this site was first acquired by the council. These developments will have a cumulative impact on the ecosystem of the stream and the risk of increased flooding, especially when climate change is factored in.
The area where the proposed housing is to be located is much higher than that of the surrounding estates. Historical records for the area provide evidence of prior flooding of the housing estates adjacent to this site, including a flood in 2002 that caused significant damage.
Aside from the potential flood risk for surrounding estates, the construction of a bridge across the stream will impact on the ecosystem of the stream and this raises significant concerns from a biodiversity perspective. To place a bridge in the middle of the riparian zone makes no sense as the associated works will most likely damage the riparian ecosystem of the stream and the new road would cross this important ecological corridor.
Poorly planned housing is negative for communities, the environment and public health. Alternative council-owned sites are available with potential to develop more environmentally – and socially – just plans for social housing.
There is an urgent need to revisit and review plans for this site from a present-day flood risk management, climate change and biodiversity perspective.
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