Plan for seafront playground halted by locals’ objections
THE proposal to build a new playground at Portmarnock sea-front is dead following a change of heart by local councillors but a play area at Yellow Walls Road in Malahide is set to be built.
Councillors had originally voted by a margin of five to one to let the planned playground at Portmarnock proceed but after referring the matter back to the committee, the councillors unanimously agreed to abort the project.
The change of heart follows a round of public consultation that uncovered considerable local opposition to the plan.
A number of local objectors made formal submissions on the proposal and a petition signed by 63 residents of the Strand Road was submitted to Fingal County Council.
Among the local concerns was that the site would become a focal point for anti-social activity and vandalism.
The council’s Parks Division felt that the site maximised the level of passive supervision and that would discourage anti-social activity. In the event that anti-social activity occurred around the site, the council was prepared to consider CCTV monitoring of the playground.
Locals also believed the playground would be used by tourists and that there would be little room for local children to use the facility.A number of objectors also said the age profile of the area was such that it could not sustain the playground out of peak holiday season although the council argued that there was sufficient local demand for the facility.
Some concern was also expressed by local objectors over the development’s possible affect on the dunes and the views of Howth Head and Ireland’s Eye.
The council was of the view that the relatively small scale of the playground would not be visually obtrusive and that it posed no danger to the dunes.
The playground was to be 20 metres by 20 metres and equipped with play equipment suitable for children, under eight years of age.However, following the unanimous rejection of the proposal at the latest Malahide/Howth Area Committee, the project is effectively dead.
The passage for another proposed playground at Yellow Walls Road proved somewhat smoother as councillors agreed to let that project proceed.
There were a number of local objectors again, although the numbers who submitted formal objections were considerably less than on the Portmarnock seafront proposal.
Locals were concerned that the site chosen for the playground was already overused but the council’s Parks Division said it felt the site had sufficient capacity to cater for the playground.Concerns were also raised about the safety of the access to the site. The council recognised those concerns saying that accessing the site did require crossing a busy road to the open space.
However, the council’s Parks Division said it had requested that a pedestrian location be placed at the location and committed to ensuring that no development works take place on the site until such time as the crossing is in place.
The council rejected concerns over anti-social behaviour, saying the level of passive supervision available on the site would discourage any bad behaviour.
The council also rejected suggestions that the playground be relocated to the open space opposite the Centra Supermarket.
The playground in Yellow Walls Road is of a similar size and type to that proposed in Portmarnock and will now proceed after councillors on the Malahide/Howth Area Committee approved the plan.
By John Manning Independent 04/11/2005