Residents up in arms over loss of open spaces

By Aideen O'Flaherty

SPRINGFIELD residents were out in force on Tuesday evening, July 24, where approximately 400 residents attended a meeting concerning the proposed development of social housing for older people on green spaces in Fernwood and Maplewood.

The meeting was held by the St Mark’s Residents’ Association in St Mark’s GAA Club in order to ascertain how people in the area feel about the planned development and what their primary concerns are.

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Residents at the meeting in St Mark's GAA Club

It is proposed that 28 single-storey houses will be located in Fernwood, while 25 units, 15 of which are to be located in a three-storey managed building with communal facilities, have been proposed for the Maplewood site.

The plans are currently at the Part 8 public consultation stage, meaning residents can lodge submissions and observations on the plans directly to South Dublin County Council, until the closing date at the end of August.

Jimmy Doyle from the St Mark’s Residents’ Association told The Echo: “We are not against social housing, but we are against giving up our green spaces.

“We got a mandate from the people [at the meeting] to save those green spaces.”

Brian Nolan, the chairperson of the St Mark’s Residents’ Association, said: “People value their open space, and the residents of St Mark’s are very much focussed on keeping these open spaces and improving them.

“It’s not an issue of social housing  – even if they wanted to build mansions worth millions, there would still be objections – this is purely about the loss of open space.”

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No councillors were invited to attend the meeting, as the residents’ association wanted to gauge what the local people’s response to the development was.

“It wasn’t to exclude the councillors,” said Mr Nolan. “We decided that our meeting would focus solely on developing the residents’ strategy for dealing with Part 8 submissions.”

Fianna Fáil councillor Charlie O’Connor, who lives in Springfield, is encouraging those with concerns about the development to engage with the Part 8 public consultation process.

“Most of the comments, calls and emails I’ve been getting are from people who are opposed to the proposal,” said Cllr O’Connor.

“From the reports I heard, the meeting last night reflected the fact that the community in general is concerned, and we [as councillors] have a duty to represent those concerns.

“What comes across strongly are concerns about open space being used for developing housing. In Ashgrove there is particular concern about residents in a cul-de-sac being asked to accept through traffic.”

Make submissions to the council

Cllr O’Connor added: “I would encourage people, particularly residents living close to the sites who will be impacted by the proposal, to make submissions to the council.”

St Mark’s Residents’ Association will be holding a gathering on both greenspaces on Saturday, August 11, at 1pm.

Submissions on the Part 8 public consultation for the proposed development will be accepted until Friday, August 31.

There is no fee for making submissions, which can be made either online at consult.sdublincoco.ie or via post to: Senior Executive Officer, Housing Department, South Dublin County Council, County Hall, Tallaght, Dublin 24.

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