Following approval by the full Council on 11th July of the combined car park/ multi use area and forest adventure proposal, a legal challenge was taken by local resident Noel Mahon, one of the Save Malahide Castle Woodland group. Central to the grounds of the challenge were the issues identified by the Council’s Law Agent in her advice of 31st May – that the information put on public display did not comply with the requirements in the legislation.
The Council Executive have now announced that they do not wish to defend the case and are abandoning the proposal.
It is unfortunate that local residents have to resort to legal challenges to achieve adequate information and meaningful public consultation. I hope that the Council Executive and the majority of Councillors who voted for the project will take a lesson from this project.
There is a good practice guide for public participation which we could learn from.. I will work to have the Council implement the Maastricht Recommendations on Promoting Effective Public Participation in Decision-making in Environmental Matters.
The Council Executive’s press release includes:
“It will now, therefore, be necessary to carry out a review of the number of short-term car parking spaces in and adjacent to Malahide Village and, if necessary, identify suitable locations for the provision of additional spaces.”
This of course is what should have been done before any proposal for increased car parking was made. I welcome the study; however I don’t believe it can justify converting any more of Malahide Demesne into carparking. We need to focus on protecting the Demesne and improving access by foot, bicycle and public transport.