Table of Top-Ten fastest growing Electoral Districts in the country
Today’s initial Census 2016 figures show that of the top-ten fastest growing electoral districts in the country, three are located in the Dublin 15 area. These are Blanchardstown-Blakestown (which includes Ongar), The Ward (including Tyrrelstown) and Blanchardstown-Abbotstown (including Waterville). The Census is giving statistical proof of something that Dublin 15 residents know all too well. More and more houses are being built, but the services, particularly in the area of public transport, are not being provided to match.
Last year I highlighted how the Capital Infrastructure Plan 2016-2021 delivered little for Dublin West in terms of improving our public transport infrastructure. For example, no funding was provided in it for the Bus Rapid Transit scheme from Ongar to UCD. This was despite the fact that the BRT is regarded as the major transport solution for the Ongar/West Blanchardstown area.
As these Census results demonstrate the sustained population growth in Dublin 15, it is essential that the new Minister for Transport review the Capital Infrastructure Plan before 2021 and give funding for projects in west Dublin. We cannot afford five years of traffic gridlock.
For the last number of years, Fingal has operated a policy that where an estate that has a management company or the developer has not handed it over to the Council and the residents want this to happen, they can gather a petition calling for the Council to take it in charge. However, Fingal stated that 85% of the owners of the houses in the estate had to support the petition. This was an extremely high threshold, as often the owners may have moved out of the area or even gone abroad.
I contacted the Department of Environment about this, asking the Minister to set a lower threshold in law. The Minister responded to me, saying that Fingal claimed that it did not have a policy of requiring 85% owner support. This was a surprise to me, as a number of estates such as Allendale were requested to get 85% support by Fingal when they drafted a taking in charge petition.
In response to a question I put down at a Council meeting this week, the Council has confirmed it now operates a policy of 50% plus 1 for taking in charge petitions. This will make it much easier for residents in estates like Tyrrelstown, where residents want the Council to take over the maintenance of estates from private management companies.
I’m pleased that Fingal has changed its policy in response to my motion and my dealings with the Department of Environment. I look forward to assisting residents in those estates where there is a wish to have the Council take public space in charge with processing any future petitions.
Response from Fingal CC to my Motion
Response from Dept Environment
I’ve written to the Minister for Planning requesting that he change legislation to make it easier for residents of housing estates run by management companies to hold a vote to allow their estate be taken in charge by Fingal County Council.
I did this following a meeting of residents of Tyrrelstown that I recently attended. In Tyrrelstown, all home owners have to pay management fees, even if they live in houses, as opposed to apartments. The residents of the estate want Fingal County Council to take charge of the roads and green spaces in the estate, like they do in the majority of estates in Dublin 15. This requires a vote of the residents, but Fingal County Council insist that 85% of those home owners on the electoral register have to vote in favour of taking in charge.
This is an extremely high threshold and it is very difficult for groups seeking to collect the signatures to achieve this, particularly in situations where houses may be rented, owners may have left the country or where grown up children on the electoral register are living elsewhere. As such, I have written to the Minister for Planning to ask him to amend the relevant section of the Planning & Development (S.180) to state that a lower threshold would be appropriate. I think a figure like 55% of owners would be more suitable.
This issue has particular importance in Dublin 15, where there are a number of ‘traditional’ housing estates which are under the control of management companies, such as in Tyrrelstown and in Ongar. It is now recognised that this was a flawed model for these estates and management companies will not be used like this in the future. However, I believe the Minister needs to intervene and change the law to make it easier to deal with the existing estates across Dublin 15 which are caught in this legal situation.
The Minister for State for Planning, Paudie Coffey TD, has responded to my request and the matter has been referred onto officials in the Department of the Environment for study (see letter below). I hope the Government acts swiftly, as making this amendment will be one step in dealing the difficulties faced by residents of estates run by management companies.
Letter – Paudi Coffey – S.180
Last week, I wrote to Minister Varadkar and asked him to make public information he had spoken about in local media where he stated that the Porterstown Road level crossing is the 54th most dangerous in the country.
Minister Varadkar has provided myself and other local representative with the relevant information from Irish Rail, which you can see below.
My thanks to the Minister for responding quickly.
Irish Rail – Porterstown Safety Record
Green Party Dublin West representative, Roderic O’Gorman has called on Fingal County Council to ensure that the existing needs of residents of Tyrrelstown and Hollystown are met through the Kilmartin Local Area Plan (LAP). He was speaking as he made his submission to the public consultation on the LAP.
“Tyrrelstown and Hollystown have seen huge growth in the last ten years, but this has not been matched by the provision of necessary infrastructure. Permanent school and community facilities are only being provided now, over ten years after the Tyrrelstown was first opened”, stated Roderic O’Gorman.
“The Kilmartin LAP offers an opportunity for Fingal County Council to address some of the infrastructure deficit in these communities. It also could allow Hollystown to be joined to Tyrrelstown, with provision for footpaths and cycle-paths to link significant infrastructure such as schools, community centres and commercial centres. Public transport will also be needed to serve any new residential developments. Consideration should be given to extending the 40D route through the Kilmartin lands and onto Hollystown”.
“While I feel Fingal County Council made a mistake in zoning new land at Tyrrelstown for residential purposes in the recent County Development Plan, the Kilmartin LAP offers a chance to plan for the wider Tyrrelstown area in a long term, structured way. I look forward to seeing the first draft once it is published by the Council, and commenting on it”, concluded Roderic O’Gorman.