I have made the following submission in relation to traffic calming proposals:
The road through Holywell / R125 needs more than the proposed traffic calming. Adding speed cushions to the R125 is not sufficient to deal with the dangerous situation which has been created here. The high speeds, high AADT and multiple lanes create a highly unpleasant and dangerous environment.The situation is terrible for pedestrians trying to cross who are required to walk along a narrow island with two lanes of traffic on each side. Passengers using westbound bus have to walk along a narrow footpath, with overgrown vegetation on one side and no buffer between them and motor vehicles which have come off the motorway at close to motorway speeds. Continue reading
Fingal County Council is planning to develop housing at Donabate. The Council has issued a “market sounding” document on etenders.gov.ie, which refers to a mixture of private houses for sale at market prices, “affordable” private houses to be sold at a discount to market rates, and social houses. I have asked them to look into developing cost rental housing for the following reasons:
- Cost rental provides secure affordable accommodation to the large segment of the population who do not qualify for social housing but are unable to secure a mortgage to buy.
- Cost rental housing remains permanently affordable, unlike “affordable” housing which may only be affordable once, as it will in time be sold on at a market rent.
- Because the costs of development are fully recovered the capital can be reused for further cost rental housing development.
- Cost rental will facilitate social mix because HAP can be applied to make up the rent for lower income tenants.
- In cities where it has been provided in quantity, cost rental has a moderating effect on rents.
My full letter and attachments are below: Continue reading
An Bord Pleanála has approved the Baldoyle to Portmarnock Greenway. Here’s the decision.
Provision of this important link for people walking and cycling in the Baldoyle and Portmarnock areas has been a priority for local residents and Councillors. This is an important part of a wider network. The use of segregated routes to link the suburban towns in the area is an approach I hope will be followed. This is also an amenity route similar to the coastal promenade from Sutton to Sandycove and gives access to the new parkland between Baldoyle and Portmarnock.
I particular welcome the scaling down of the lighting proposed for the route, which I called for in my submission. It is very positive to see An Bord Pleanála take proper account of the impact on bats and on the visual character of the Green Belt by requiring that the lighting be by bollards rather than the 6m poles originally proposed.
Following discussions with teachers in two of the local secondary schools, I proposed the following motion to the Area Committee last week:
“That the Council consults with students and teachers in the secondary schools in the Howth / Malahide Area in relation to the improvements needed in order to improve the safety of the access routes to the schools and in order to facilitate an increase in the numbers of students travelling to and from school by foot or by bicycle and a reduction in the numbers travelling to school by car.”
The motion was agreed at the meeting. I think there is a mixture of approaches needed, varying between schools. Two important aspects of this are the Green Schools Committees, one of whose targets for getting Green Flags is transport, and the potential to get students involved in solving the problems they experience cycling to school
Fingal County Council is reducing pesticide use, implementing policy changes sought by Grern Councillors. This includes both letting wild plants grow in some areas and trialling safer alternatives to conventional pesticides.
As reported to this month’s Council meeting, alternatives including steam and foam are being used to deal with weeds coming up in locations like paving cracks. Visitors to Malahide Demesne may notice the smell of vinegar which is being used as a substitute for the controversial weedkiller Glyphosate.
Commenting on the implementation of the new policy, Cllr. David Healy said: “Phasing out pesticides is vital to protect our insects, particularly the pollinating insects which have such an important role in ecosystems. Our parks and open spaces must be places where nature can thrive. Green thinking says ‘think globally, act locally’ and we are very glad that Fingal is putting this into practice.”
Cllr Roderic O’Gorman commented: “It is good to see Fingal responding to the public concerns at the use of toxic chemicals in public places. As Councillors we hear these concerns first-hand. When people visit their local parks and open spaces, they want to be confident that these are safe and healthy places, in which they can let their children play freely.”
The update given to Fingal County Council’s monthly meeting regarding the plan can be found at p47 of these minutes.
My submission which led to the change in policy (including some photos of non-use of herbicides elsewhere) is available here.
The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan is here.
Unfortunately, the threat to tarmac over some of the playing pitches at Bridgefield in Malahide Demesne has reappeared.
A report on parking in Malahide was brought to the March Area Committee. It seems to be intended to make the case for the conversion of some of the Bridgefield pitches to car parking.
The proposal to convert playing pitches to car park was originally made in 2009. The Council initiated a Part 8 process but abandoned it due to the strength of public opposition.
The proposal reappeared in late 2015, together with a proposed Forest Adventure Area. Despite the fact that the Law Agent advised that the relevant planning regulations hadn’t been complied with, a bare majority on the Council approved the proposal. That proposal was abandoned in 2016 following a High Court challenge by local resident Noel Mahon.
I will continue to oppose any further conversion of parkland to car parking. We need to protect the Demesne for future generations, improving access by foot, bicycle and public transport.
This recurrent proposal is undermining public confidence in the management by the Council of the wonderful asset. In September I proposed that there should be some sort of formal or informal input from park users and the local community. The proposal didn’t get the necessary level of support but I think it is worth returning to.
Friday is the deadline for observations on the proposed greenway from Baldoyle to Portmarnock. Observations should be made to An Bord Pleanála in relation to application 300840. My submission strongly supports the route which has been one of my main goals as a Councillor. The changes I propose to the application are that a) the lighting needs to be minimal to protect both the wildlife and the landscape and b) the path structure and surface need to be designed and built to a high standard.
Fingal County Council has applied to An Bord Pleanála for permission for a greenway between Baldoyle and Portmarnock. Details of the application are online here as well as in Baldoyle Library and the Council’s offices in Swords and Blanchardstown. Observations on the proposal can be made to An Bord Pleanála until 23rd March.
The cycling and walking route between Baldoyle and Portmarnock will provide for a high quality transport link and amenity route through the Green Belt between these towns. It responds to the demand from local residents for improved green transport opportunities along what is now a hostile stretch of road. It is part of the Bray to Balbriggan coastal greenway which the Green Party has been working for over many years.
The application is for a high quality route with pedestrians and cyclists separated. This recognises the importance of the route for transport cyclists as well as its role as an amenity for the public walking along the nature conservation area at Baldoyle Estuary and the Mayne River.
However, I am concerned about the proposal for 6m high lighting columns along the route. I will be proposing to An Bord Pleanála that these be replaced with low level lighting or path markings instead.
Tá an Comhairle ag lorg do bharúil ar scéim teanga. Táimid chun an tríú scéim don Contae faoin Acht Teanga a fhoilsiú i 2018.