Monthly Archive for September, 2015

Developers should provide playgrounds as part of planning permission

Green Party Dublin West candidate, Cllr. Roderic O’Gorman has called for more small scale local playgrounds to be located around the Dublin 15 area. He was speaking after making his submission to the Fingal County Council Open Space Strategy public consultation where he called for such playgrounds to be part of the planning permission for all new estates of over 100 units.

Over the last few weeks, Fingal County Council have been undertaking a public consultation on its Open Space Strategy for the next five years. In my submission, I have urged the Council to place a greater emphasis on small scale local playgrounds being located in public spaces. While the Council currently maintains some excellent playgrounds in its large regional parks like the Millennium Park or St. Catherine’s, most of these require that parents put their kids in a car and drive them there. There needs to be greater facilities for parents to have their kids on swings/slides for half an hour at a location that is within reasonable walking distance of their home.

Within the entire Castleknock ward, the only good example of such a local playground is at Riverwood. This was provided by the developer as part of the planning permission conditions. While there are some local playgrounds in newer estates in Ongar, generally Fingal does not seem to support them.

While I understand that there is a maintenance cost to such parks and a need to prevent anti-social behaviour, the benefits in terms of health, and the need in terms of the large young population in the Dublin 15 area, must be taken into account.

I am proposing that a) the Council looks for the inclusion of small scale local playgrounds in all new residential developments of over 100 units as part of the planning conditions and 2) the Council locate suitable locations across Dublin 15 where such local playgrounds could be placed in existing residential areas, after consultation with residents.


Fingal changes policy on taking estates in charge in response to my motion

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