Friends of the Murrough


To Wicklow County Council

Planning Department

Wicklow Town


Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Dear Sirs,


Regarding the draft Wicklow Environs Area Plan


Vision for Wicklow Town and environs


Our vision is of a high quality environment for local residents, businesses and visitors from the surrounding towns and further afield. We must provide leisure and amenity facilities. As the population of the town grows to over 22,000 in the next few years, we will need more space for passive recreation and walking. The river and the coast is our only substantial ‘park’. Indeed the space available along the Murrough is being significantly reduced by erosion, with the result that walking routes may eventually need to move inland.


1.         We welcome the presentation of public rights of way along the cliff walk and the Murrough.


2.         We welcome the acknowledgement of environmental designations.


3.         We welcome the restoration of paths from Rathnew to the Murrough.


4.         We request that the marked rights of way be amended to include a circular path close to Wicklow Town along the existing coastal path, turning inland along the avenue towards Broadlough House, then turning south towards Wicklow Town along the bank of the river back to the existing car park. (see map attached)

Also there is an omission which we submit should be included: The Black Castle to Lighthouses and cliffs walk returns via the Irish Lights access road crossing the Coast road and meandering along a fenced path (known locally as the Fairy Glen) to where it joins the Old Dunbur Road south of the Seafield Estate and adjoining An Tairseach - Dominican Farm. Wicklow Co. Co. or Wicklow Town Council cleaned and repaired fencing in this area about ten years ago.


5.         We propose the inclusion of an objective to secure a Special Amenity Area Order          designation for the Murrough from Kilcoole to Wicklow Head. This need not exclude all development in the portion of land closest to Wicklow Town; however it would serve to bring about greater certainty that all development applications would be carefully screened to ensure that only very high quality/low impact developments are permitted. The objectives of this Special Area Amenity Order would be drawn up in consultation with all stakeholders. It would include objectives regarding management plans for the area to include protection of habitat and wildlife, the development of better access points, the protection of rights of way and maintenance of paths with boardwalks where appropriate, siting of benches and educational signage etc.


6.         4.5 Coastal zone Management. We note that the development control issues are referred to in the Wicklow County Development Plan Coastal Zone Management Objectives 6.1.18 Management Plan. However we submit that additional objectives need to be added in this Wicklow Environs Plan. The siting, height and density in this area should be controlled, particularly if any change of the industrial zoning be adopted to permit residential development. To ensure clarity we propose the Wicklow Environs Plan be amended by the insertion of a new objective:


            4.5 Coastal zone Management CZ2. It is the objective of the council to control development to ensure that

i)          All development be sited not less that 150 metres from the existing shoreline (note: to limit visual impact and ensure adequate space once coastal erosion has removed existing space.)

ii)         All development be low-rise, not more than two storey, no dormers. (note: Although the urban form of residential development is unlikely to follow the low density model of Brittas Bay, development on the sea side of the road provides a model of low impact housing. The height of development along the Murrough is of critical importance.)

iii)        All development applications must include a light impact assessment to encourage the use of best practice low impact lighting plans for the area.

iv)        All development applications must include landscaping proposals to be agreed as part of the permission and not left for the later agreement of the Council. (note : to ensure the opportunity for public participation in this)


7.         It appears that a printing error has mis-coloured land at the northern end of the Murrough and that it is intended to be green open space, not brown as currently shown. We trust this will be corrected. Similarly in the Environmental Impact Statement there is an ambiguous statement in section 6.2.3 on page 52 regarding the scenario 2 presented for comparison purposes stating that the employment area impinges          ‘further northward’ along the natural habitats of the Murrough. The word ‘further” needs to be deleted in case this is mis interpreted.




Friends of the Murrough

Malcolm Spencer

c/o Redwoods