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  • Southside

Locals in battle for green spaces

Wednesday, 22nd August, 2018 8:00am

Story by Neil Fetherstonhaugh
Locals in battle for green spaces

Locals pictured at the protest in the Springfield area of Tallaght, where developments on local green spaces is being objected to by residents. PHOTOS: DARREN KINSELLa

Locals in battle for green spaces

Locals pictured at the protest in the Springfield area of Tallaght, where developments on local green spaces is being objected to by residents. PHOTOS: DARREN KINSELLa

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A DELEGATION of Tallaght residents is set to meet with local councillors and council officials this week to argue their case against the proposed development of residential units for older people on green spaces in Springfield.

Following a large turnout at a recent demonstration in the area, locals say they are confident that when they meet planners and councillors on Wednesday (August 22) under the provisions of a Part 8 planning process they will be able to convince them the proposal is “not worthwhile”.

South Dublin County Council has outlined plans to construct two older persons’ residential developments at Fernwood Park (28 units) and at Maplewood Road (25 units) in Springfield.

The proposed development consists of one and two-bedrooms in one and two-storey units, as well as a three-storey ‘managed building’ with communal facilities.

The proposal will also see the upgrading of existing public open spaces with boundary treatments, drainage, service and utility connections, as well as roads and street lighting.

However, members of St Mark’s Residents’ Association believe that when it comes to a vote on the issue on September 10 the council will support the spirit of their community and reject the proposal.

“Three years ago, it was mooted that South Dublin County Council had included parts of Springfield in their plans for ‘in-fill’ housing that would see several green spaces replaced with housing units,” Brian Nolan, the chair of the residents’ association explained.

“The residents immediately voiced their concerns and this was put on the back burner. We were assured by the council that we would be contacted about any future proposals in advance.

“This year we were informed that a more aggressive plan to develop the green spaces was not only in their thoughts but already underway.

“We called a meeting of residents and a huge crowd gathered in St Mark's GAA to voice their anger at the proposals.

“The proposal in question impacts the whole community but is centered on building upon the greens on Maplewood Road and Fernwood/Ashgrove.

“The units are described in part as dwellings for older persons but include a three-storey building that would overlook existing houses that have been there for over 40 years.

“The fact is this estate is almost 50 years in existence and we have never received as much as a park bench for an amenity.

“Kids of all ages, families and the mature residents all consider these parks as the last amenities available to the community.

“What is being built is not the issue,” Mr Nolan insisted. “It is where it being built and at what cost to a community that already has felt the impact of no support in terms of developing our amenities.

“We have had developments similar to this at the entrance to the estate in Virginia Heights and again at the end of Maplewood Avenue, both of which added nothing to the community at the expense of green spaces.

“We all realise there is a housing crisis but this proposal does not provide a suitable solution,” he added. “This is not an issue with housing, whether social or private - this is about the impact of losing the last amenities this community have and at the same time highlighting the inadequacy by the council in providing for this growing community."

Cllr Charlie O’Connor (FF), who lives in Springfield, said he will be attending the meeting on Wednesday alongside his fellow Tallaght councillors as well as members of the council, the mayor and officials from the Cluid organisation.

“I have been encouraging residents to make submissions on the proposals to the council to focus on the potential loss of green space and the impact this would have,” he stated.

Cllr O’Connor pointed out that a full report on the meeting would be prepared ahead of the vote on September 10.

A spokesperson for South Dublin County Council said they could not comment on the proposed scheme at Fernwood and Maplewood, which is the subject of a Part 8 planning application under the Planning & Development Acts.

A meeting this week will dicuss the green space issue in Springfield. Local residents say the green spaces are important to their community.

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