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  • Southside

Irish Water under pressure to turn over green space

Wednesday, 8th May, 2019 8:00am
Irish Water under pressure to turn over green space

Alex White, Conor Battigan, Chief Executive Sandyford BID, Sharon Scally, Director & Chair Sandyford BID and Barry Andrews pictured at the public meeting in Union Cafe, Beacon Quarter, Sandyford.

Irish Water under pressure to turn over green space

Alex White, Conor Battigan, Chief Executive Sandyford BID, Sharon Scally, Director & Chair Sandyford BID and Barry Andrews pictured at the public meeting in Union Cafe, Beacon Quarter, Sandyford.

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A PACKED public meeting was held on the Southside last week to demand local access to some 15 acres of landscaped green space at the upgraded Stillorgan reservoir.

As part of the Stillorgan Reservoir project Irish Water plans to landscape the site but keep it closed to the public.

Last week the Sandyford Residents and Business District staged the public meeting to draw attention to what they say is a lack of public amenities in the area and to launch a campaign to get public access to the landscaped Irish Water site in the area.

“The Sandyford Business District urgently need a public amenity space for use by the 40,000 residents and 25,000 employees in the area for important health, social, environmental and economic benefits,” the group said ahead of the meeting in the Union Café, Beacon South Quarter. “Therefore, Sandyford BID is seeking to gain access to this landscaped site and for it to be deemed a public open space.”

Local Stillorgan-based Councillor, Donal Smith (FF), described the Stillorgan Reservoir project as a missed opportunity to extend public access to much needed green space.

Cllr Smith added that the decision to deny the public from accessing 15 acres of green, landscaped land once the Stillorgan Reservoir project is completed, is at odds with Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council’s strategy on improving green infrastructure in the area.

“In June 2017, granted planning permission to Irish Water for extensive works at the Stillorgan Reservoir,” Cllr Smith said. “The initial decision to grant planning permission required Irish Water to provide green open space with public access. However, Irish Water later won its appeal to An Bord Pleanála to prevent access for the public. 

“The fact that some 15 acres of land in Stillorgan is set to be landscaped and developed but members of the public will be denied access to it, is ludicrous to say the very least," said Cllr Smith.

The Sandyford Business District group said it was seeking to gain access to the site and for it to be deemed an open space until such time when Irish Water requires the land.

“With the current skills shortage it is an employee market and employees are looking for a variety of options from their work life,” the group said in a statment. “There is a greater influence on work life balance. Employers and residents are keen to enhance the location and the local amenities on offer. 

“People are choosing to live elsewhere and then commute longer distances in order to raise families in areas where there is adequate social amenities like parks and walkways.

“It is widely recognised that there are many benefits to the public in the provision of an open space,” the statement adds.

A spokesperson for Irish water said the Stillorgan Reservoir Upgrade Project is a strategically important part of securing Dublin’s water supply for the future.

“The reservoirs currently provide drinking water to over 200,000 customers and the safety and security of this water supply is a top priority for Irish Water,” the spokesperson said.

“The present site has been used for the distribution of drinking water since 1860 and for the protection of the water supply public access has never been permitted.

“Construction on the Stillorgan Reservoir Upgrade project started earlier this year and involves the construction of a new covered reservoir at the site.

“At present, treated drinking water is exposed to the environment which presents an unacceptable contamination risk. Irish Water has held extensive engagement with the local community and businesses throughout the planning and construction of this important project.

“The new covered reservoir will have the capacity to support future growth to 2031. Growth in water demand is forecasted to continue beyond 2031.”

Alex White, Conor Battigan, Chief Executive Sandyford BID, Sharon Scally, Director & Chair Sandyford BID and Barry Andrews pictured at the public meeting in Union Cafe, Beacon Quarter, Sandyford.

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