The issue of the access between Castlerosse and Admiral Park and to new
Millennium Park and pitches came up at Monday’s Council meeting.
residents will know, I leafleted the area setting out the facts and
considerations some months ago, including the details of the planning
permission applicable in the area. I avoided giving my personal view
because I didn’t want to make any commitment before having a chance to
hear all of the arguments and issues. However, while distributing
those leaflets I spoke to some girls (aged about 9 to 12) who were
climbing the wall to get back to Castlerosse where they lived. My mind
was pretty much made up by that conversation. The submissions received
effectively confirmed my decision.
The three options put on display were as follows:
Option 1 was to integrate the open space and provide a planted pedestrian access from Grange Road through the open space to the new park and pitches which are going on the open land between Baldoyle and Portmarnock.
Option 2 was to provide the access through the open space but with railings on both sides, dividing it from Castlerosse and from Admiral Park. This would involve most of what has up to now been the Admiral Park open space being fenced off from Admiral Park.
Option 3 was to maintain and strengthen exisiting boundaries. Castlerosse would be permanently divided from Admiral Park and there would be no access from Baldoyle to the new park and pitches.
I put the consultation information on this site at here.
45 submissions were received:
24 were from Admiral Park. Of these 22 wanted the current situation with the fence reinforced (Option 3) and 2 recommended the fenced off access to the park which means Admiral Park losing most of its open space(Option 2).
8 were from Castlerosse. Of these 6 (from 4 houses) wanted the area to be opened (Option 1) and 2 (from 1 house) wanted it closed (Option 3).
13 were from further out in Baldoyle (this includes two received by email without postal addresses which could have been in Castlerosse or Admiral park. 11 of these favoured Option 1, opening the area out and 2 went for Option 2. The two which recommended Option 2 did so mostly because they thought local residents wanted to be fenced off and didn’t want to go against them.
The discussion in the Council was quite heated. It’s online starting at around 3.25. In the end Option 2 was agreed by a majority of 11 to 5. The Socialist Party and Fine Gael provided the main arguments in favour of this.
Option 2 had the lowest level of support. As I mentioned above, it involves Admiral Park losing most of it’s open space. The majority appear to have decided for it on the basis that this is what the Councillors voting for it thought the local residents would want.
My decision to support Option 1 was based on my concern for the importance of walkable neighbourhoods. Such neighbourhoods lead to better community spirit, less car use and healthier more relaxed lives. There is a signficant body of evidence on this now. For example here and here.
Interestingly our professional advisors from the Parks and Planning Departments of the Council, had no advice for the Councillors on the importance of providing pedestrian access to residential areas, despite it being part of the Development Plan.
A majority of the Councillors voted in favour of blocking pedestrian
access to Castlerosse and in favour of fencing off most of the Admiral
Park open space in order to create a fenced access to the new
Millennium Park and pitches.
I honestly find it all
depressing and quite hard to understand. If they had a deliberate
policy of trying to prevent people, from walking they couldn’t do much
Ireland follows the American model yet again; watch our lifestyle diseases rise along with theirs.