Roderic O’Gorman TD and Cllr Pamela Conroy welcome Ireland’s first inclusive We-Go-Swing® to Millennium Park Playground

Dublin West TD and Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Roderic O’Gorman and Green Party councillor for Castleknock & Blanchardstown Pamela Conroy have welcomed the introduction of an inclusive We-Go-Swing® at Millennium Park Playground. The new addition is Ireland’s first inclusive wheelchair accessible swing, and was opened by Fingal County Council on Saturday, 18 December 2021.

The We-Go-Swing® is a revolutionary step forward in inclusive play experiences. Designed to be integrated into the playground setting, this swing lets kids of all abilities play together and experience the thrill of swinging. With no need to transfer, the We-Go-Swing opens up a whole new world of playground fun.

Roderic O’Gorman TD said:

“The new wheelchair accessible We-Go-Swing is a very welcome addition to Millennium Park, which will make the playground a place of fun and activity for all children, and for all abilities. The swing’s really innovative design allows children to swing together, helping them to play in an inclusive way that everyone can enjoy.

This new feature is another example of how accessibility and inclusion is becoming integral to the design of our public spaces and facilities, including children’s play areas. It is the first of its kind opened in Ireland, and I look forward to seeing playgrounds around the country mirroring what we have here in Blanchardstown.”

Cllr Pamela Conroy said:

“The need for accessible, inclusive play equipment in our parks is something I have been raising since my first Area Committee Meeting last year, and so I am delighted to see that Fingal County Council has sourced a piece of play equipment that is not only accessible for wheelchair users but one that is also inclusive.

The We-Go-Swing is designed so that multiple children of all abilities can swing together, helping to ensure that all children are included, and that no one child is singled out because they are different. It is a wonderful addition to the playground, that will further promote inclusion and acceptance in our community, and I look forward to seeing the positive impact the swing has on the experience of children and their families in the area.”

OPW must clarify when Phoenix Park entrance gates will be returned

Reply from the Minister for the OPW on Phoenix Park gates

A lot of people have been asking me when the Phoenix Park gates will be returned. They were taken down for the Papal visit, and have been missing since. I asked the Green Party TDs to put a question to the Minister with Responsibility for the Office of Public Works about the matter.

The Minister stated that the gates are currently undergoing preservation works, which was part of the conditions for allowing their removal. However, he was not able to give any indication of when they might be replaced.

I find this strange. Surely the experts undertaking the preservation works much have some understanding of the timescale within which the work will be finished? Coming on the back of the Strategic Review of the Park that the OPW are undertaking, people are concerned that major changes are being made to the Park with no oversight of what is happening.

I will continue to seek clarification from the Minister and the OPW on when exactly the gates will be returned. The current temporary barriers are a blight on the entrances to our Phoenix Park.

My Observations on Lidl Appeal

 

Monday was the deadline for observations to An Bord Pleanala regarding the five appeals made to the Bord about the grant of planning permission for the Lidl development at Castleknock village.

You can see my observation below.

An Bord Pleanala have up to 6 months to rule on the appeal.

 

The Secretary,

An Bord Pleanála,

64 Marlborough St.,

Dublin 1.

20/11/16

Re: Observation on Appeal An Bord Pleanála Ref: PL06F.247458 (Fingal FW16A/0006)

Dear Sir/Madam,

I would like to make an observation on the appeal to An Bord Pleanala made by the Castleknock Residents Action Group (CRAG), submitted on the 25th October, in respect of the grant of planning permission by Fingal County Council for the construction of a Lidl supermarket and other buildings under application FW16A/0006. I am supporting their appeal under the headings of:

  • Increased Traffic Movement in Castleknock Village
  • Parking
  • Area of Architectural Conservation
  • Castleknock Park

My address is 1 Avon Lodge, the Plaza, Main Street Blanchardstown, D15 X898.

I enclose the €50 fee for an observation.

Yours sincerely,

_________________

Cllr. Roderic O’Gorman

 

Introduction – Context of the Development

This proposed development is for a significant back-lands site in the centre of Castleknock development. It has been the focus of a number of planning applications over the last ten years, with An Bord Pleanala rejecting an appeal against a refusal of planning permission by Fingal County Council in December 2014 and rejecting an appeal against a grant of planning permission for the original Uxbridge proposal in February 2010. All of these proposals have been widely opposed by the vast majority of residents in the area. While it is accepted that this site will be developed, both the current application and the previous ones are regarded as being unacceptable on the combined basis of their scale in a low-rise urban village, their incongruity in an architectural conservation area, their potential impact on adjoining established estates and the impact that the extra traffic generated will cause on the surrounding area.

 

Increased Traffic Movement in Castleknock Village

The proposed development is in close proximity to three national schools: Castleknock National School (1 stream), St. Brigids National School (4 stream) and Castleknock Educate Together National School (2 stream). The size of these schools gives an indication of the degree of movement occurring during the school run period. Both Castleknock National School and the Education Together would have catchment areas running far wider that the Castleknock village area, necessitating the use of cars to get to and from school.

The grant of planning permission allows for opening hours from 8:00am and deliveries from 7:00am. The extra level of traffic activity generated from deliveries and shoppers accessing the development causes concerns from both the point of view of increased congestion, but also safety issues for children walking or cycling to the local schools.

 

Parking

The grant of planning permission allows the development proceed with a significant under-provision of car parking facilities compared to the requirements of the Fingal Development Plan for commercial developments at Table TO3b in the Fingal Development Plan 2011-17. The justification for the provision of 113 spaces, as opposed to the recommended level of 213 spaces, is speculative in the extreme and does not warrant an under-provision of 47% vis-à-vis the recommended amount. Objective Castleknock 2 in the Fingal Development Plan 2011-17 requires that any infill development will improve the physical and environmental characteristics of the village. It is submitted that the overflow parking that will be generated from the under-provision at the proposed development will negatively impact on both the physical and environmental characteristic of the village, which already suffers from a lack of parking spaces.

 

Area of Architectural Conservation

Castleknock is a historic village and this has been given statutory recognition through the creation of an architectural conservation area (ACA) in the centre of the village as part of successive Fingal County Council development plans. While the applicants for planning permission claim to have created a design that is sympathetic with the existing low rise and red brick theme of the village main street, it is difficult from an objective point of view to accept that this has been achieved. The design, materials and stark modernity of the proposed development are completely at odds with the existing scheme of the village. It is submitted that the proposed development breaches Objective AH17 of the Fingal Development Plan 2011-17:

Ensure that any new development or alteration of a building within or adjoining an ACA

positively enhances the character of the area and is appropriate in terms of the proposed design, including: scale, mass, height, proportions, density, layout, materials, plot ratio, and building lines.

The proposed new development does not enhance the character of the area, is not appropriate in terms of scale, mass, layout, material and building lines.

 

Castleknock Park

In the event of a decision to uphold the grant of planning permission, I would argue that An Bord Pleanala should re-examine Condition 12 of the planning permission as decided by Fingal. In the original Uxbridge application, as approved by An Bord Pleanala, provision was made for a full wall at the boundary between the site and Castleknock Park. This has been downgraded to a wall with some fencing on-top under the current grant of planning permission. It light of the major change to the area that would result from the proposed development in terms of increased noise, visual intrusion, lack of privacy, I would submit that at the very least, residents of Castleknock Park should be entitled to have a complete barrier in the form of a full wall placed between their estate and the new development, in order to protect their residential amenity, as is currently provided for under the ‘RS’ zoning that currently applies to this estate.

Proposed new office development for Castleknock village

Street level view of proposed new development in Castleknock village
Street level view of proposed new development in Castleknock village

A planning application has been submitted for a 3 storey office development on a site to the rear of Nos 1-3 Castleknock Road, in Castleknock village.

The application is described as a 3 storey office development, though it has an “undercroft” car park which makes the development 3 ½ stories over-ground. The building will overlook Castleknock National School and will be accessed through a laneway beside the dental surgery. The official description of the application on the Fingal website states:

Permission for a proposed office development. The application site is an infill site to the rear of Nos 1-2 Castleknock Road (Protected Structures Ref. 768 + 769), rear of No. 3 Castleknock Road (Parkside House – Protected Structure Ref. 770) and to the rear an side of Village House/Post Office House (Protected Structures Ref. 766 + 767) on Castleknock Road. The lands are located within an Architectural Conservation Area. Permission is being sought for the construction of a 3 storey office development over part basement part undercroft car park with associated ancillary office facilities, utilisation of existing vehicular and pedestrian entrances. landscaping/boundary treatments and all associated engineering and site works necessary to facilitate the development.

Should you wish to submit an objection or observation, the deadline is close of business on the 7th April. These should be sent to the Planning Department, Fingal County Council, County Hall, Main Street Swords, Co. Dublin. Include your own name and address, and you must use the number for this planning application: FW16A/0026

You can also register online and make your objection/observation through the Fingal website. Remember, there is a €20 fee to make an objection.

If you have the chance, please forward on your objections/observations to me at rodericogorman@gmail.com.

Plan of proposed new development in Castleknock village
Plan of proposed new development in Castleknock village

New e-car charge points in Dublin 15

New ecar charge point on Mill Road, Blanchardstown
New ecar charge point on Mill Road, Blanchardstown

I’m pleased that that Fingal County Council had identified locations and permitted the installation of these free public e-car charge points by the ESB. The charge points are on Park Avenue in Castleknock and Mill Road in Blanchardstown. What is good about these new points is that they are on the public road and are therefore free to access. All the charge points previously in Dublin 15 were on private property, and there were questions about the cost of using them.

The ESB have been rolling out these public charge points across the country over the last few years. They are provided at no cost to the local authority, other than finding a location to install them. I’ve been pushing to have more of these free e-car charge points in Dublin 15 since I was elected last year, as Fingal was behind some other local authorities in terms of getting them installed.

Consumers continue to buy e-cars as they seem them as cheaper and more efficient to run, as well as their environmental benefits. This new charging infrastructure in Dublin 15 means that users now have even greater opportunity to use them.

 

Dublin West Green Party holds successful Royal Canal Clean-Up

Volunteers with some of the rubbish collected on the annual Dublin West Green Party Royal Canal Clean-Up
Volunteers with some of the rubbish collected on the annual Dublin West Green Party Royal Canal Clean-Up

I want to thank all the volunteers who were out with us this evening for our Annual Royal Canal Clean-Up. We worked a stretch of the Canal between the 12th Lock and Coolmine Train Station, picking up cans, glass, plastic bottles and other rubbish. We got a significant amount of waste collected, which Fingal County Council is now going to dispose of.

What is particularly positive is that, in the eight years we have been doing this, I’ve never seen the canal bank so lightly littered. There was significantly less waste this year than on previous occasions. This is a good sign and suggests people are valuing the Canal more

The Royal Canal continues to be a significant amenity for Dublin 15 residents and a potential tourist attraction for visitors interested in walking or cycling holidays. In the context of the new Fingal County Development Plan, I’m going to continue to work to ensure that it is protected for everyone’s enjoyment.

College Grove: One size fits all approach to parking in estates will not work

 

At the Council meeting on Thursday, we had an extensive debate about the refusal by Fingal County Council to put in place extra double yellow lines in College Grove beside Castleknock village. A significant number of residents from the estate turned up to hear the discussion.

 

There are certain estates that suffer from parking issues not directly related to the estate itself. Portergate in Clonsilla used to have severe parking issues due to Clonsilla train station. Roselawn Road continues to have similar issues, caused by Castleknock Station. And College Grove in Castleknock has a major parking problem due to the fact that it is linked to the large College Wood estate, where insufficient parking was provided by the original developer.

 

In these type of situations, I feel that the Council has to do more to assist residents. As such, I was disappointed by the refusal of Fingal County Council to place extra double yellow lines in College Grove. The Council’s argument is that double yellow lines are solely for safety and are not for traffic management. However, I think this one size fits all approach fails to recognise that certain places, like College Grove, suffer disproportionately badly from non-resident parking and should be given extra support.