On Monday, Wicklow County Council is considering the Wicklow County Development plan 2016-2022 which is proposing that the population of the 4 main towns expands by 43% and the number of houses by 66% by 2025. ‘I am proposing that this large expansion should be made dependent on improving the overcrowded N11/M50 and improved public transport as no improvements are planned currently. I am also proposing a technical change which will reduce the number of houses somewhat’
‘The present plan allows considerable expansion even though the N11/M50 is well overcapacity. The National Road Authority and National Transport Authority have no plans to improve transport. Yet we are being given high future population targets by Central Government and we must show we are not prepared to allow even further expansion without better transport.
I am also proposing that any future expansion of Greystones must be dependent on the Delgany to Blacklion Road being completed as there are now 5 schools on it’.
WCC Development Plan 2016-2022. Directions:
1. For East Wicklow the shortfall of housing units (LAP Settlements Table A) shall not be built until measures have been implemented to improve the functioning of the N11/M50 area including measures such as traffic management and upgrade works, expansion of road capacity, bus priority, improved rail services and other identified options as stated in the Regional Planning Guidelines S6.3.2.
2. For Greystones the shortfall of housing units (LAP Settlements Table A) shall not be built until the Delgany to Blacklion Road has been completed.
3. Household size should be assumed to be 2.3 in 2028 instead of 2.3 in 2025.
An extra 5,034 houses are required, 1,267 more than zoned in the current plan. This is on top of the town tripling over the last 30 years. With the exception of roads (and jobs) the infrastructure has largely kept up (education, water, sewerage, recreation etc.). In particular the third North-South Road is needed urgently. The Delgany-Blacklion Road has been planned for 30+ years while the town has tripled and there are now 5 schools on it. Only a small amount of the road has been built, there is no detailed plan of the route and not enough width has been allowed in places for a path and cycleway on both sides, essential if children are to walk and cycle to school. This Plan must state that the expansion is conditional on this road being completed.
East Wicklow expansion, M50/N11 capacity and also Public Transport.
The N11 cannot cope with current traffic volumes, the 2010 NRA report states that the road ‘is not suited to cater for current traffic volumes’. The Regional Planning Guidelines for the Greater Dublin Area 2010-2022 recognise this problem and state S6.3.2:
‘it is recommended that relevant Local Authorities and transport departments undertake, as part of an overall strategy developed as part of the NTA Vision document, a range of actions to improve the functioning of the N11/M50 area including measures such as traffic management and upgrade works, expansion of road capacity, bus priority, improved rail services and other identified options’.
This is the only specific road improvement envisaged in the Region.
This Plan expands the population of the 4 towns in East Wicklow by 31,227 (+43%) and the number of houses by 19,236 (+66%) by 2025.
The NTA states ‘it is not currently pursuing any major Public Transport proposals in Co. Wicklow’ and the NRA has not produced any plan to improve the road.
The extra expansion of East Wicklow envisaged by the Wicklow Development plan must be made dependent on the above Regional Planning guidelines being implemented.
Population and number of houses.
The Plan is for an expansion of 30,000 people from Census 2011 to 2025. This is a similar fast rate as from 2002 to 2011 of 22,000. These targets are handed down from Central Government and are compulsory. It is also compulsory that 42% of this expansion is in the Metropolitan Area (Bray and Greystones).
The number of houses needed is based on an assumed 18% decline in the average number of people per house from 2.79 in 2011 to 2.3 in 2025 or .035 per year. This is a prediction of a massive social change (it changed .030 from 1996 to 2011 on average) and I think that it will not decline by nearly that much. I would like the Direction to be that 2.3 should be the figure in 2028 (.029 per year). Consequently less houses will be needed.