Planning appeal by Skerries Community Association to Fingal County Council’s decision to GRANT permission for a Drive-thru restaurant in Skerries

Click on the link below to see the full appeal made by Skerries Community Association regarding the permission for a Drive-thru restaurant in Skerries. The text (without the graphics) is also replicated on this page.

SCA Drive Thru appeal to ABP Fin 26 Mch

Dear Secretary,

This is the written planning appeal by Skerries Community Association with reference to Fingal County Council’s decision to GRANT permission in the case of application reference F18A/0340, for a Drive-thru restaurant in Skerries, Co. Dublin.

Consistent with the Fingal County Development Plan 2017 – 2023, Skerries Community Association supports the fair and transparent application of planning policies that seek to develop and improve, in a sustainable manner, the social, economic, environmental and cultural assets of the community. We do not believe that these objectives have been met in this case.

Grounds of Appeal:

During the subject planning procedure, Skerries Community Association made constructive written observations in response to the original submission for planning permission in respect of 3 important provisions:

1. The Local Setting and Zoning Objectives 2. The very close proximity to a local school 3. Conflicts with active modes of transport / pedestrian accessibility

Following the Manager’s Order and further submission of “Additional Information” by the applicant, Skerries Community Association became increasingly concerned that these planning provisions were not adequately considered. The Association then submitted further observations

Skerries Community Association: secretary@skerriesca.com / chair@skerriesca.com

re-iterating these points as grounds to REFUSE permission. However, the planning authority has since formulated a decision to GRANT permission and, in the view of the Association, did not sufficiently address our observations and the important planning provisions contained therein.

These same grounds for refusing permission are repeated below and Skerries Community Association now appeals to An Bord Pleanála to overturn Fingal County Council’s decision in this case.

1. Zoning Objectives & Local Setting

In the “Additional Information” submission, the applicant affirms and agrees with the Local Authority’s view that “the proposed development is compliant with the ‘LC’ Land use Zoning Objective”. The SCA disagrees strongly. Specifically, a drive-thru restaurant is not compliant with the ‘LC’ zoning objective, including to “minimise the need for use of the private car and encourage pedestrians, cyclists and the use of public transport”.

In the Additional Information, the applicant says the development reinforces the “Skerries Point Shopping Centre retail viability….to serve current and future demand”. All zoned residential lands local to the centre (Barnageeragh Cove and Kellys Bay) are nearing completion and full occupancy. Future local demand growth will be modest. There are vacant units at the existing centre. The applicant seems to claim to support a “Local Centre” objective, while seeking to underpin “viability” of an under-occupied pre-existing local centre by attracting vehicular traffic to a drive-thru restaurant from beyond the local demand zone. This is clearly at odds with the zoning objective, which requires a local centre to be “at a scale to cater for both existing residential development and zoned undeveloped, now or in the future” as well as “encourage pedestrians, cyclists and the use of public transport”. This proposal clearly seeks to expand the capacity of the applicant’s “shopping centre” beyond the local demands and use for which the site is zoned. This is affirmed by the numerous vacant units at the existing centre, despite full occupancy of the local residential zones. Currently vacant units include large units suitable for a ‘walk-in’ restaurant that could “serve current and future demand”, should it exist.

Developing a drive-thru restaurant serves only to displace zone-compliant businesses. It is noted that there is already an appropriately scaled walk-in fast food amenity at Skerries Point that amply meet the needs of the local catchment and that Objective DMS107 outlines among other provisions that development proposals for fast food/takeaway outlets will be strictly controlled and all such proposals are required to address …..the cumulative effect of fast food outlets on the amenities of an area”. Despite the applicant’s decision to call the local centre a “shopping centre”, the local infrastructure cannot support a commercial remit beyond that for which the site is zoned. The proposed development is not zone-compliant and does not represent a “positive and complementary addition to the range of retail services currently being offered” as claimed. It is in fact a considerable threat to the proper functioning of a Local Centre and adjacent residential zones and schools.

Relevant Fingal County Development Plan 2017-2023 Provisions Zoning: Local Centre – The aim is to ensure local centres contain a range of community, recreational and retail facilities, including medical/ dental surgeries and childcare facilities, at a scale to cater for both existing residential development and zoned undeveloped lands, as appropriate, … The development will strengthen local retail provision in accordance with the County Retail Strategy. Development Management Standards & Fast Food/Takeaway Outlets Fast food outlets have the potential to cause disturbance, nuisance and detract from the amenities of an area and as such, proposals for new or extended outlets will be carefully considered. Objective DMS107 – Development proposals for fast food/takeaway outlets will be strictly controlled and all such proposals are required to address the following:

• The cumulative effect of fast food outlets on the amenities of an area.

• The effect of the proposed development on the existing mix of land uses and activities in an area.

• Opening/operational hours of the facility.

• The location of vents and other external services and their impact on adjoining amenities in terms of noise/smell/visual impact. Objective ED54 – Prevent an over-supply or dominance of fast food outlets, takeaways, off licences, and betting offices in…..local centres to ensure that injury is not caused to the amenities of these …. centres through the loss of retail opportunities. Objective SKERRIES 12 – Continue to support the delivery of enhanced recreational, community, social, youth and educational facilities in the area.

2. School Proximity

The applicant’s response to Additional Request No.1 is not satisfactory. It proposes that “responsibility for access to the proposed development should fundamentally lie with parents and guardians”. Indeed, the provisions of the Fingal Development Plan and Objective DMS108 is the mechanism through which the community, including parents, wishes to exercise that responsibility. Planners must also exercise their responsibility in this case. The facility is likely to be operated by a fast food franchise with significant marketing reach, including to children. The additional information details that elevated signs will be in full view of the school/childcare entrances as well as from recreational space used by teenagers in Kelly’s Bay & Barnageeragh Cove. Parents who are trying to protect and properly develop good dietary habits and wellbeing in their children will not appreciate having to compete with such messaging on a daily basis. Objectives such as DMS108 exist precisely to give parents the power to defend themselves against such pressures within their community, through the planning system.

Relevant Fingal County Development Plan 2017-2023 Provisions Objective DMS108 – Give careful consideration to the appropriateness and location of fast food outlets in the vicinity of schools and, where considered appropriate, to restrict the opening of new fast food/takeaway outlets in close proximity to schools so as to protect the health and wellbeing of school-going children.

Image and proposed signage from additional information raises concerns.

3. Sustainable Transport

The Additional Information only highlights how the proposed layout will not only attract more vehicular traffic by design but will frustrate cycle and pedestrian access to other zone- compliant local amenities, schools and childcare in and adjacent to the Local Centre. It is positioned within a particularly sensitive site with respect to facilitating active modes of travel. There is a specific objective to develop a greenway through this zone (see relevant local objectives in the current County Development Plan). Skerries Community Association, through its Skerries Cycling Initiative promotes such developments and is particularly concerned that the proposal will block any future opportunity to facilitate a cycleway parallel to the railway track for a safe and uninterrupted cycle/pathway along Barnageeragh Road to the railway station. The very confined site straddles the margin between the railway line and the road. The additional information indicates no spatial provision to facilitate such sustainable transport to what is a Local Centre. On the contrary, the resulting road layout facilitates vehicular access to the drive-thru, frustrating access to zone-compliant facilities including a directly adjacent child care facility, specifically discouraging “pedestrians, cyclists and the use of public transport”.

Image from additional information showing no spatial provision for a cycle route along the railway line.

Relevant Fingal County Development Plan 2017-2023 Provisions Zoning: Local Centre – The aim is to ensure local centres contain a range of community, recreational and retail facilities, at ……. locations which minimise the need for use of the private car and encourage pedestrians, cyclists and the use of public transport. Objective SKERRIES 10 – Promote and ensure a safe and convenient road, pedestrian and cycle system highlighting accessibility and connectivity both within the town as well as between the town and surrounding towns and villages. Objective MT17 – Improve pedestrian and cycle connectivity to schools and third level colleges and identify and minimise barriers to children walking and cycling to primary and secondary school Objective SKERRIES 11 – Promote and facilitate increased permeability and accessibility for those using active travel modes, prams, wheelchairs, personal scooters and other similar modes. Objective SKERRIES 13 – Promote and facilitate the development of the Balbriggan to Skerries cycling/walking Scheme along the Coast Road within the lifetime of this Development Plan. Objective MT21 – Ensure that as soon as possible, but by the end of the lifetime of the Development Plan the environment in the immediate vicinity of schools is a safe and attractive low speed (30kph) environment, and drop-off by car within a given distance restricted.

Skerries Community Association recommends that An Bord Pleanála refuse permission for this planning application.

Yours sincerely,

_______________________________ Date: ________________________

Michael McKenna, Chairperson

Skerries Community Association

Open Space in Barnageeragh Cove and Hamilton Hill – Information Evenings with Fingal County Council

Local residents of Barnageeragh Cove and Hamilton Hill are invited to information sessions this week, organised by Fingal County Council, regarding public parkland and amenities on the site which Winsac had intended for a petrol station/shop/fast food restaurant. The proposal is to relocate the Multi Use Games Amenity there. “Part of the green space behind the petrol station site includes a small historic landfill, closed since 1983 and which contains mainly soils and stone.” (from the County Council letter, dated 5 March 2019).

The draft proposals for this site are going to be on public display on Thursday 7 & Friday 8 March 2019, 3 p.m. to 7.30 p.m., Skerries Point Shopping Centre (former Boyle Sports unit). Invitations are being distributed in the relevant area.

Barnageeragh Cove Residents Association and Skerries Community Association were briefed by Fingal County Council officials on this matter on 4 March 2019.

AGM 2018 Draft Minutes

Annual General Meeting 3 September 2018: Agenda & Minutes

Venue: Little Theatre, Skerries Community Centre, Skerries Co. Dublin

Agenda:

  1. To confirm the Minutes of the last Annual General Meeting
  2. To receive and adopt the Directors’ Report and Financial Statements for year ended 31 Dec. 2017
  3. To elect Directors to the Board
  4. To elect Members to Skerries Community Centre Board of Management
  5. To reappoint Dempsey Mullen as Auditors and to authorise the Directors to fix their remuneration
  6. To transact any other business proper to an Annual General Meeting of the Company.

The meeting began at 20.10 and closed at 21.30.

Continue reading

Jim Quigley Award 2018: SYSS

THIS YEAR the Jim Quigley Volunteer of the Year Award was awarded to Skerries Youth Support Services (SYSS) for all their work over the past three years with the young people in Skerries.

The award was presented by Skerries Community Association (SCA) chairman, Geoff McEvoy, on September 3 and was collected by JP Browne and Dave Beatty on behalf of SYSS.

SYSS, is a youth-focused community organisation that supports the local young people through the challenges many of them face. It provides information and services on positive wellbeing, including mental, physical and sexual health, and personal safety. Central to its purpose is to raise public awareness about mental health and to encourage conversations amongst all generations of the community in an open, honest and trusting way. Through these conversations the remaining stigma around mental ill-health will be addressed, finding its way towards a position of acceptance. Since its launch in 2016, SYSS has produced an information booklet titled: “Myself, My Life” and has circulated over 15,000 copies in Skerries, Balbriggan, Rush and neighbouring towns. The booklets offer information and service contacts relevant to a range of issues often encountered by teenagers and young people, such as depression, sexuality, and bullying. SYSS has also facilitated several talks within Skerries and is currently in the process of establishing a clinical youth support worker for young people.

 

Tidy Towns Awards 2014

Photographs courtesy Tidy Towns Facebook Page

CoderDojo March 2015

Age Friendly Pack Launch Aug 2015

SCA AGM 2014 Album

Skerries CoderDojo AGM 2016

Minutes of Skerries CoderDojo AGM

29 September 2016, Skerries Community Centre (Old School)

Present:

Adam Barry, Barry Keegan, Garry Rogers, Gavin Killen, Jack Halpin, Karen Flannery, Máire Goldsmith, María A. Mañueco Ramos, Mat May, Myles Slevin, Paula Hickey, Sabine McKenna, Stephen Guildea, Thomas Lepel, Tony Graham.

Chairperson’s (“Champion’s”) Report

Sabine McKenna, current Chairperson (until June 2017 Replacement needed!), gave the following report:

Monthly CoderDojos (October 2015 to June 2016) continue to be in demand, particularly with beginners, although there is a bit of a fall-off in the advanced groups. Still, we barely find enough mentors to offer the spaces that there is demand for! Due to lack of availability of rooms in May & June, we did not accept any new coders after April.

We offered Scratch coding for beginners and intermediate; a small but hardcore html group; Minecraft Modding and then Unity (game design) for the oldest group. Over the last year, the Scratch Intro lead mentor had to leave, and the gap she left is felt; now, the Scratch Plus lead mentor has to end his involvement as well.

Very successful: Mentors encouraging children to present their projects to the group. Didn’t get to the next stage, where ninjas would present to the entire Dojo – we have started the process of obtaining projectors (follow-up needed with the Community Centre).

Within the Skerries Community Association, of which Skerries CoderDojo is a committee (as well as being part of the CoderDojo movement), we participated in the Chairs’ and Committee Meeting in June (Karen Flannery, Deirdre Kelly). This was very useful for forging new connections and for letting the other committees know what it is that we are doing.

We are also present on the SCA website and were included in the annual report; one of our mentors (Tony Graham) is a Director of the SCA

Membership: We have a Mailchimp email list for all parents (244 subscribers), including potentially interested ones; a Google Group for parents (66 members); and a Google Group for organisers / helpers / mentors (49 members).

Equipment: Over the last year, we bought four laptops which can be booked via the Eventbrite system. This is an important step towards inclusion, enabling families which do not have a laptop at home to attend, and also offers families with more children than laptops to sign up more than one child. We have also been successful in obtaining five Raspberry Pis from the CoderDojo foundation.

Mentors and Helpers: A number of new mentors and helpers joined us over the last 12 months, thank you to those who joined & those who continue to help out, CoderDojo would not exist without you! The Garda Vetting Process has been carried out for the first batch of mentors and helpers, and will be offered again in the near future. A good number of our mentors and helpers have attended Child Protection Training, either offered by the CoderDojo foundation or Skerries Community Association, and those who did so strongly recommended attendance to other mentors. Keep your eyes open for announcments of new

Scratch Training for new mentors was last offered in 2015, and should be offered again soon.

Outlook: We need a firm Lead Mentor for each group, who will themselves find a replacement if they cannot make it; a treasurer for Jan 2017, and a new champion for summer 2017 (or earlier, if someone has come to the decision to take this very rewarding job on now).

Treasurer’s Report

Summary 2016 to date (September 2016)

Income    
Tuck shop €510  
Donations €110  
Sponsorship €640 RazorSocial covering the rent
Total: €1260  
     
Expenses    
Rent Little Theatre €480  
Tuck Shop €181  
Bank charges €23  
Total expenses: €684  
Net income:   €576
     
Bank balance    
Opening Bank Balance Jan 2016 €732  
2016 income to date €576  
Closing bank balance sept 2016 €1308  
cash float held €60  
Total money held €1368  

 

Karen Flannery, our treasurer, presented the figures above.

Overall, income from the very popular Tuck Shop is strong, whereas donations have gone down, possibly because parents spend that bit extra on the Tuck Shop. It may, however, be a good idea to make parents more aware of the donations box.

The meeting thanked Karen for her wonderful services as treasurer, which she will continue to carry out until the end of the year; from January 2017, Máire Goldsmith will take over. Thank you, Máire!

Discussion & outcomes

  • A number of parents offered their services as new mentors and helpers.
  • There will be a New Mentor Training from 3 p.m. on Sun October 9 (i.e. directly preceding the next CoderDojo), based on the beginners’ handouts;
    scratch.mit.edu
    has a number of self-learning resources as well
  • Mat May will research cost for some peripherals to be connected to the Raspberry Pis.
  • Sabine will pursue the projector situation.
  • We need to be able to store things in the community centre, e.g. the four laptops, a couple of screens – Sabine to contact the Community Centre and ask about possibility of obtaining (or sharing) a locker.
  • Peer mentoring would be a positive step forward, Scratch Intro and Scratch Plus mentors to discuss how best to do this.
  • Garda Vetting and Child Protection Training to be offered again as soon as possible.
  • A strong lead mentor for Scratch Intro is needed.

Skerries – the overall winner of the 2016 Tidy Towns competition!

Skerries is a fantastic place to live in – and it’s now officially the top Tidy Town in Ireland! Well done to Skerries Tidy Towns Committee.

The winning team back in Skerries

Photograph by Ray Watts, Skerries

The chair of Skerries Community Association, Geoff McEvoy, said on the day:
“I know I speak for the whole board when I express how delighted we are for Ann, Maeve, Mary and the whole Tidy Towns team. An award like this is the product of years of hard work by the committee and an army of volunteers. Skerries is lucky to have them!”
Indeed.

For links to some of the major coverage of this fantastic news item, go to the very bottom of this post.

A lot of work has gone into making Skerries an ever-better place for us locals and visitors alike. It’s not just the weekly work parties… you can read about the work this very active committee is doing on their dedicated page here on our Skerries Community Association website (they are, after all, one of our many committees).

A considerable amount of research, planning, and reporting is involved as well.

The Tidy Towns Committee this year focused on the Winning Value of Water – this is a piece by Mary Conway (you can see her on the above picture, fourth from right) that significantly contributed to the win.

The value of Water

Skerries is a seaside town which lies approx 25 kilometres north of Dublin City. It has two beaches, a harbour and a restored windmill and watermill. It has a long association with the sea. In previous times the residents depended on fishing for a livelihood. In recent times the population of Skerries has increased five fold and now stands just short ten thousand people. Luckily there is a very good community spirit in the town and enthusiasm for conserving energy in general and especially water as you will see from some of the projects below.

Floraville Community Garden in the Town Centre.

The new Community Garden provided under auspices of the Chamber of Commerce. This garden was designed in strict accordance with the recommendations of the Greater Dublin Strategic Drainage Study and other regulatory guidelines of Fingal County Council and the Department of Environment. This includes collection of rainwater falling onto all pavements and hard standing areas, its attenuation and ultimately its infiltration into the ground.
In addition, it was decided to implement a rainwater harvesting strategy and thereby minimise the amount of water that would be required from the public mains service. This was done by using a shallow underground 3000 litre F-Line rainwater harvesting tank and system so that this amount of water would be available for watering the garden. The system includes a state of the art automatic pumping system to provide the desired gardening water pressure while at the same time minimises power usage to operational periods only. The pump goes into hibernation mode at all other times. Water from this source is used by volunteers who maintain the flower planters around the town.

SKERRIES ALLOTTMENTS

From the outset the allotment holders wanted to be off-grid, i.e. not connected to mains electricity or water. There’s a stream running through the middle of the allotment fields from where we get our water. It’s pumped from this stream to
a 70,000 liter tank at the highest point of the scheme. From this tank, water troughs around the allotments are fed by gravity flow.
There are about 50 such troughs situated so that from any allotment you shouldn’t have to walk more that 10 meters to get water. 

Troughs were deliberately chosen as opposed to standpipes as it was felt that with standpipes, people might use hoses and be more wasteful of water. In addition to this many of the allotment holders have water butts and collect rainwater from shed roofs.

The Skerries allotments group held an open morning to encourage new people to become involved in the allotment community. They set up a sustainable watering system using the existing scheme with a solar pump which pumps water to a large container which is then gravity fed to troughs at various locations in the field.

As to quantities of water saved, I suppose of a hot summers day, an average allotment holder would use 30-40 liters of water on my allotment. There are about 250 allotments so, potentially, that could be 10,000 liters/day that would otherwise have come from the mains. Off course this depends on the weather, whether or not there’s a poly-tunnel, etc. Fingal County Council and the Fingal Leader Partnership did help financially to get started. Increased use of natural mulching and waterbutts in continuously encouraged.

COMMUNITY FOOD GARDEN

This year a site for the community garden has been secured and a Committee are looking at the ways of saving water and they are receiving the co-operation of the allotments group.
Already they have a 1000 litre tank to harness the rainwater from the roof of the wind/watermill. There is consideration being given to the idea of using the stream beside the watermill to draw water using a solar panel and then collect it in a tank. As this project progresses more consideration will be given to rainwater collection and the use of the stream.

Being a member of Skerries Tidy Towns for many years and involved in other community groups I was very impressed with the amount of planning this group has done in short while and have no doubt but it will be successful.

School Survey

A survey was carried out in the schools about the amount of water saved in homes.
Water/energy conservation publicity in Skerries News
The Tidy Towns Committee arrange with the local News publication to publish a number of abbreviated helpful hints on energy saving from Green homes covering waste reduction, water conservation, energy saving in the home, reducing carbon emissions and tips for recycling. A cartoon character called TiTo was commissioned specially to highlight these tips. Tidy Towns and Skerries Community Association Facebook and websites are used regularly.

Skerries is so lucky to be close to the sea as it provided much enjoyment for the residents. There is a sailing club, rowing club and a surf board group. These clubs provide much needed training for its members. Let us not forget the daily swimmers all year round. There is a safe swimming place on the head which has a area suitable for wheelchairs.

There is great awareness of the power and dangers of the water. A huge number of children are trained to a high level in general water safety every year.
Despite the high level of water sports enjoyed by the people of Skerries the sea took its toll on the fishing people. Last year Community got together and erected a memorial of all the fishermen and other sea users that lost their lives off Skerries.

Mary Conway
Skerries Tidy Towns

Skerries Tidy Towns Win In The News