Bray Lo­cal Area Plan will come be­fore Wick­low County Coun­cil on Mon­day

Wicklow People (Arklow) - - NEWS -

THE Bray Lo­cal Area Plan will come be­fore the full coun­cil on Mon­day, the first time in history that the de­vel­op­ment of Bray and its en­vi­rons will be de­cided by the 32 mem­bers of Wick­low County Coun­cil.

Cllr Joe Be­han has ac­cused the CEO and plan­ners of ig­nor­ing the views of the peo­ple of Bray re­gard­ing the fu­ture de­vel­op­ment of the district.

‘De­spite thou­sands of pub­lic sub­mis­sions on var­i­ous as­pects of the plan, the coun­cil man­age­ment want to pro­ceed to al­low build­ing on the Dar­gle River flood plain and across the higher slopes of the Lit­tle Su­gar­loaf,’ said Cllr Be­han.

He be­lieves that the pro­posed plan doesn’t al­low for suf­fi­cient pub­lic and sport­ing open space at Old Fas­saroe lands.

‘The plan­ners also want to pro­ceed with al­low­ing hous­ing at the rear of Charn­wood and Gilt­spur Wood, which could al­low the break­ing through of cul-de-sacs in both es­tates,’ he said.

‘I be­lieve it is vi­tal the views of the peo­ple of the district are sup­ported by all coun­cil­lors at the meet­ing next Mon­day,’ said Cllr Be­han.

Lit­tle Bray lo­cal com­mu­nity group, SWAP (Safety with Al­ter­na­tive Plan), have been fight­ing since 2005 to have high den­sity de­vel­op­ment planned for the 3.5 ha cor­ri­dor of land along­side the river Dar­gle stepped back onto the high ground. Their homes are lo­cated up­river from the pro­posed de­vel­op­ment.

Map No. 16 in the present (2011) De­vel­op­ment Plan for the town shows Flood Zone A, the high­est cat­e­gory of flood risk, cov­er­ing the 50-60m wide cor­ri­dor of low­land ad­ja­cent to the river. In the equiv­a­lent map - SFRA 2(a) - of the 2017 Draft Plan, how­ever, the Coun­cil’s ex­ec­u­tive have ex­tended Flood Zone A up onto the high ground, so that al­most two-thirds of the 17 ha site, now in re­ceiver­ship, is shown as at great risk of flood­ing.

SWAP be­lieves that the ex­ten­sion of Flood Zone A to cover most of the Golf Club lands site is an at­tempt to get around the Jus­ti­fi­ca­tion Test, a strin­gent set of plan­ning guide­lines that ap­ply if per­mis­sion is sought to build on a flood­plain. Its two main cri­te­ria are that the land in question must be es­sen­tial to the growth and de­vel­op­ment of the town, and that there must be no al­ter­na­tive site.

‘The flood­plain shown in the 2011 De­vel­op­ment Plan is too small (3.5 ha) to be es­sen­tial to the town, and there is a clear al­ter­na­tive - build on the high ground,’ they said in a state­ment. ‘If, how­ever, the ex­tended Flood Zone A is ac­cepted, the site passes the Jus­ti­fi­ca­tion Test be­cause of the much larger area in­volved.’

SWAP rep­re­sen­ta­tives have met Wick­low County coun­cil­lors over the past three months in a se­ries of in­for­ma­tion evenings on flood­ing, flood de­fences, and flood­plains

Cllr Joe Be­han.

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