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Lucan destination plan could make village ‘inaccessible’ for vulnerable warns GP


By Philip Downes -11/02/2022

A plan to remove over half the on-street parking of a busy south Dublin village in order to turn it into a ‘destination town’ will have a detrimental impact on the most vulnerable of its residents, a doctor has warned.

Lucan GP Dr David Lombard has said the plan for Lucan, set out by South Dublin County Council (SDCC) projects, discriminates against ‘vulnerable groups of patients by limiting their access to health care’.

The village was designated by SDCC as a ‘destination town’ under Fáilte Ireland’s development program. The plan is set to see enhancements made to the village, including €2million for ‘public realm improvements to the riverside and village green areas’.

However, Dr Lombard warned the planned removal of almost half the village’s on-street parking will ‘dramatically reduce access’ to Lucan village.

Lucan aerial photography

A Lucan GP has objected to plans to make the village a destination town, which could see the removal of over half of the village’s on-street parking. Pic: SDCC

‘They want to remove the parking spaces to provide a welcoming tourist area. but Fáilte Ireland have even acknowledged that European tourists are going to be coming to Lucan by car or by cycling, ‘ Dr Lombard told ‘If you’re taking away the spaces, that’s not really attractive for tourists, so we’re not really buying that.

‘A lot of the people who live in Lucan are retired pensioners,’ he said. ‘I met with the Director of Planning in the South Dublin County Council in early November and expressed my concerns about people losing access — not just elderly people, but also people with disabilities, people with young children… they can’t be walking down [the incline] in adverse weather conditions. And it just fell on deaf ears.’

Main Street Clinic

Main Street Clinic in Lucan village, which is situated at the bottom of a steep hill. Pic: Google Street View

Mr Lombard also spoke about the stark population increase in Lucan over the past 30 years. Despite the population increasing 300% in thirty years (from 15,000 people in 1990 to 60,000 in 2022), the same number of parking spaces remain in the village, he said

‘There’s a lot of public support [against the removal of the parking spaces]’, Dr Lombard said. ‘I feel that this is discriminatory against young children, cancer patients, and those over the age of 70.

‘We have three GP practices in Lucan’, Dr Lombard said. ‘A common problem in relation to healthcare is a lack of access. People can’t get on doctor’s lists because the lists are full. So we feel that this move by the Council is aggravating an already critical situation’.

SDCC logo

The plan, announced by South Dublin County Council in February 2021, is set to cost €2million. Pic: SDCC

‘I thought that when the Council had the problem pointed out to them, they were going to say “that wasn’t our intention, fine, wrong decision” — but they ploughed ahead with the support of the local councillors, which is disappointing’.

Dr Lombard elaborated on his objections in a presentation to SDCC, where he said that the plans are ‘unbalanced’ and discriminatory to vulnerable groups.

According to the submission: ‘Everyone who has ever visited Lucan village has commented on the hills surrounding the village. The village centre is at the base of a steep valley. Lucan Village has no train station, no DART, No LUAS, No high Quality Bus Network. Lucan Village does not even have a publicly accessible off street car park’.

‘SDCC plans have resulted in massively unbalanced proposals for Lucan under the Lucan Masterplan 5 Project Approach published in October 2021’, the submission said. ‘The Masterplan could eliminate up to 60 car park spaces of the 126 pay and display spaces from Main Street.

‘No off street car parking is being proposed to compensate for this dramatic loss. SDCCs proposals will have a devastating impact on local people’s access to essential health and other services due to resultant closures or relocation’.

‘I have many categories of patients who are in vulnerable groups’, Dr Lombard explained. ‘There are the elderly, cancer patients, young children to name a few. These are broad categories. My patients are keen to share their experiences of how they will be affected by the unbalanced nature of the proposals of SDCC. My patients feel discriminated against as their health precludes them meeting the requirements of the SDCC “modal shift to walking and cycling”.

‘The removal of current car parking in the heart of the Village, which impairs access to health care particularly for vulnerable groups, will definitely have a serious adverse effect’.

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