Park Atlantic Parks and Green Areas Sustainable Management Action Plan

park atlanticIn January 2012 Cunnane Stratton Reynolds (CSR) was appointed to prepare the Park Atlantic Parks and Green Areas Sustainable Management Action Plan. The project required CSR to prepare action plans for the five Park Atlantic partner cities, namely Limerick, Angers and Pau in France, Santiago de Compostela in Spain and Vila Nove de Famalicao in Portugal. CSR was appointed by the Mid West Regional Authority in Ireland, with funding from INTERREG and the city councils of the five partner cities. The project was completed in November 2012.

 

CSR teamed up with Ainhoa Gonzalez (providing GIS, languages and research), Michael Cregan (landscape architect with extensive exeprience of working with and for local authorities) and Optimize Economic Consultants for the project.

 

The project team analysed the parks and green area resources and the management structures of each of the five cites in the form of a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) and conducted site visits and interviews with local authority staff to identify best practice in parks and green areas management as well as any weaknesses in the cities’ policy and practice. This work was supplemented by research into international practice, and a theoretical toolkit of best practice in local authority parks and green areas management was prepared.

 

The toolkit addresses policy areas such as green infrastructure, sustainable urban drainage (green streets, green roofs, etc.), urban landscape character and legibility, promotion of good landscape and urban design, the urban forest, urban agriculture, community participation, economic valuation of parks and green areas, resources and funding for development and management, etc. Each policy area is discussed and references to good practice and further reading are provided.

 

The five cities were then evaluated against the toolkit of best practice and any requirements or opportunities for improvements in parks and green areas management policy (including planning and development) and practice were identified in the form of an action plan. The action plan for each city is divided into strategic, medium and short term actions, with the responsible parties identified along with monitoring indicators against which to measure the success of the actions over time.

 

In the final report CSR also includes a discussion of the history of public parks provision and the multiple values of parks and green areas to our cities, asking the question ‘what are parks for?’. The emerging science of economic valuation of parks and green areas is introduced (and explored in greater detail in an appendix prepared by Optimize Economic Consultants). This leads to a discussion of ecosystem services (ESS) and Green Infrstructure (GI) planning as the emerging paradigm in landscape planning and management. 

 

The final Park Atlantic Action Plan report can be downloaded here: 

http://www.csrlandplan.ie/publications.html

 

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Cunnane Stratton Reynolds Obtains Planning Permission for New Lawn Cemetery at Esker, Lucan, Co. Dublin

Cunnane Stratton Reynolds (CSR) has obtained planning permission for a new lawn cemetery at Esker in Lucan, County

Esker

Masterplan of Esker Cemetery

Dublin. CSR was originally appointed in September 2010 to design a cemetery on the 2.71ha site. Preliminary site investigations revealed that the site had for a period been used illegally for (inert) waste disposal. CSR’s role was broadened to coordinate the necessary environmental assessments and to bring the project through the planning process.

The suburban site is situated adjacent to the ‘old’ Esker cemetery and across the road from the ‘new’ Esker cemetery which is itself approaching capacity. There is a residential estate to the east, the N4 motorway to the south and to the west an extensive public open space through which the GriffeenRiver flows in a deep valley. The site is zoned High Amenity and is presently used for keeping horses.

The Master Plan

CSR’s design concept for the cemetery seeks to make use of the site’s valuable attributes – including its domed topography, a small stream (currently culverted) which crosses part of the site in a narrow valley and the surrounding landscape features such as the historic cemeteries, the Griffeen River valley and historic planted woodlands – to create a parkland landscape rich in amenity value and biodiversity. The grave plots are divided into blocks by a network of tree-lined roads and paths that follow the site contours. The culverted stream is reintroduced to the surface in a linear water garden enclosed by terraces of premium grave plots. The boundaries are planted with a corridor of native woodland, except along the street frontage where a response is made to the suburban context by improving the streetscape and creating an attractive new ‘place’ at the site entrance. The cemetery buildings, gateway and boundary wall and streetscape paving are deliberately contemporary but understated, and the building features a green roof to minimize its visual impact on a number of taller houses across the road.

CSR appointed Make Use architects to design the cemetery buildings, and Roughan & O’Donovan engineers to address traffic and services including the sensitive issue of site drainage.

Planning

CSR submitted a planning application to South Dublin County Council in October 2010. Due to concerns arising over the presence of illegal waste on the site the Council issued a request for further information (RFI) and CSR coordinated the response, which included an Environmental Risk Assessment prepared by Donal Marron (then of White Young Green Ireland) as well as various ecological and arboricultural reports (prepared by Corvus Consulting and Goodwin-Arborist respectively).

South Dublin County Council granted planning permission for the cemetery in October 2011. The decision was appealed by a 3rd party. CSR submitted a response to the appeal and in December 2012 an Bord Pleanala upheld the local authority’s decision, paving the way for development of the cemetery.