‘They were putting steps down the right of way’

The household of a younger wheelchair-user say he has been excluded from a right-of-way between his residence and the principle highway as a result of the native authority “doesn’t see him as a member of the public”.

Graham Stubbs says his son Owen (22) has used a 150m sloping right-of-way between the household residence at Knocksinna Court in Foxrock and the N11 Dublin to Wexford highway for “all his life”.

The pathway, described by Mr Stubbs as a “dirt track which we kept clear”, has just lately been changed by developer Richmond Homes with giant steps which can be inaccessible to wheelchair customers.

The steps run alongside the boundary between Knocksinna Court and a 0.825 hectare web site on which development of 142 build-to-rent residences, with 91 parking areas, is nearing completion.

Knocksinna Court’s pathway offered a right-of-way between the N11 and Granville Road, which runs parallel to the N11. Though the trail’s decrease half in direction of Granville Road stays wheelchair accessible, the higher half to the N11 will not be. Currently it’s behind hoarding and inaccessible to everybody whereas development continues.

The strategic housing improvement, which Mr Stubbs stresses he’s not in opposition to, was granted permission by An Bord Pleanála in July 2019.

Among the circumstances it set was that: “Prior to any works on site [there must be] written agreement outlining that members of the public will have free and unrestricted access at all times to the pedestrian and cycle link which connects Granville Road with the N11.”

‘Too steep’

Mr Stubbs says: “We read that and thought, ‘That’s alright. They can’t have steps’. We assumed ‘members of the public’ included people with disabilities.”

However, he stated a few yr into the construct “we noticed they were putting steps down the right of way”. Though Richmond Homes supplied options akin to a fob giving Owen entry to the event and its lifts and exits to the N11, “that wasn’t satisfactory”, Mr Stubbs says.

Sheelagh Stubbs and her son Owen: A developer has built over a public right of way and put steps between their home and the bus stop. Photograph: Alan Betson
Sheelagh Stubbs and her son Owen: A developer has constructed over a public proper of manner and put steps between their residence and the bus cease. Photograph: Alan Betson

“What about other wheelchair-users? That was a public right of way and should be open to all members of the public.”

Fergus Farrell, chief business officer with Richmond Homes, stated the gradient between the N11 and Knocksinna Court was “too steep” for a wheelchair ramp.

While laws state a ramp should be no steeper than 1:12, which means that for each 1cm rise the ramp ought to lengthen 12cm, he stated the gradient on this case is “about 1:9”.

“The only way we could reduce the gradient would be to build the ramp in a zig-zag, extending the length of it,” he stated, including that this might eat into the remainder of the location and cut back house for residences. It was a requirement, he stated, that they obtain the present density of 167 models per hectare.

Site density

A Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown planning report on the unique software famous 167 models per hectare was “high relative to sites” regionally and exceeded the minimal 50 models inspired within the council’s sustainable communities technique 2016-2022. The council was “satisfied the subject site” was suited to accommodating a better density, but it surely didn’t require the upper density.

Mr Stubbs stated: “We were genuinely relying on the [An Bord Pleanála] condition. We could take a judicial review but that would mean going into the High Court. We could lose and then be on the hook for our costs and theirs.”

Though he’s aggrieved with Richmond Homes, he stated he was “really annoyed” with the council.

“I just cannot understand how Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown has allowed a developer take away a public right of way from someone who has used it all their life, on the altar of profit. It’s really sad.”

Mr Farrell “completely rejects” the allegation of revenue being put earlier than disabled individuals like Owen, saying the corporate has “gone out of [its] way to work with [Mr Stubbs]”.

An Bord Pleanála stated: “The phrase ‘members of the public’ is a generic, non-discriminatory phrase used to convey a concept of general public access. How it is subsequently interpreted, in terms of compliance with planning conditions, is a matter for the relevant local planning authority.”

A spokeswoman for Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council stated it “deemed the applicant’s compliance submission to be compliant with the intent of the situation.

“The pedestrian link at this location is in the ownership of the developer and they are in compliance with their approved planning permission.”

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