Ashtown · Cabra · Drumcondra · Glasnevin · Phibsborough

Observation on illegal gate at Hamilton Gardens

Neasa Hourigan TD and I have made a submission to Dublin City Council regarding an illegally installed gate between Hamilton Gardens and Faussagh Avenue. The Council had already issued an enforcement notice and the owners were told to remove it. The issue was featured in the Business Post recently: Dublin City Council warns landlord to remove fences and gates in luxury development. However, the owners have now applied for retention permission for the gate and to restrict access to the general public between “dusk and dawn”. Here’s our submission:

Data provided by applicant

The application references “ongoing occurrences of anti-social behaviour in and around the residential development since August 2022”. No data on the occurrences of anti-social behaviour are provided in the application e.g. dates, frequency, nature. It is not clear how a decision can be made on this application without such data.

Based on a recent Business Post article it appears that much of the damage occurred in uncompleted, unoccupied apartments/blocks. It is not clear from the application whether these apartments/blocks are now completed and occupied.


Zoning context

The site is subject to zoning objectives Z1 (Sustainable Residential Neighbourhoods) and Z3 (Neighbourhood Centres).

Section 14.7.1 ‘Sustainable Residential Neighbourhoods – Zone Z1’ of the Dublin City Development Plan states:

The vision for residential development in the city is one where a wide range of high quality accommodation is available within sustainable communities, where residents are within easy reach of open space and amenities as well as facilities such as shops, education, leisure and community services. The objective is to ensure that adequate public transport, in conjunction with enhanced pedestrian and cycling infrastructure, provides such residential communities good access to employment, the city centre and the key urban villages in order to align with the principles of the 15-minute city.

The installation of an access controlled gate would directly contravene this zoning objective by reducing ease of access to open spaces, facilities and amenities and would not align with the principles of the 15-minute city.

Section 14.7.3 ‘Neighbourhood Centres – Zone Z3’ of the Dublin City Development Plan states:

Neighbourhood centres provide an essential and sustainable amenity for residential areas and it is important that they should be maintained and strengthened, where appropriate.

Restricting access to a neighbourhood centre through the installation of an access controlled gate could not feasibly be described as maintaining and strengthening the neighbourhood centre.

Policy context

We believe that the installation of a gate would also be against the following policies of the Dublin City Development Plan:

CCUV39: Permeable, Legible and Connected Public Realm

To deliver a permeable, legible and connected public realm that contributes to the delivery of other key objectives of this development plan namely active travel and sustainable movement, quality urban design, healthy placemaking and green infrastructure. 

QHSN21: Gated Residential Development

It is the policy of Dublin City Council to support the creation of a permeable, connected and well-linked city and to avoid gated residential developments which exclude the public and local community and prevent development of sustainable neighbourhoods.

SMT18: The Pedestrian Environment

To continue to maintain and improve the pedestrian environment and strengthen permeability by promoting the development of a network of pedestrian routes including laneway connections which link residential areas with recreational, educational and employment destinations to create a pedestrian environment that is safe, accessible to all in accordance with best accessibility practice.

We note the argument made in the application around balancing against CCUV40 (Public Safety). However we feel that until the developer has confirmed that all blocks and units are occupied (and the passive surveillance that goes with such occupation) the installation of gates would be a premature and permanent fix to a possibly temporary problem.

Access timing

Should permission be granted for the timed access pedestrian gate we would request that specific times (possibly with seasonal variation) be included as a condition. “Dawn to Dusk” opening is too vague and may just end up as a ground for another planning enforcement action.

The times specified should support practical uses of required permeability. Given the short days in, for example, December (Sunrise circa 08:40, Sunset circa 16:10) a purely dawn/dusk approach would make the route inaccessible for people on school/creche/work commutes.  We believe that any timing of access should support people on school/creche/work commutes all year.