New play space developments worry dog walkers in locality

By Aideen O'Flaherty

PLANS for the development of a play space and an adjoining play trail on the Cherryfield end of Dodder Valley Park in Knocklyon have been met with consternation by local dog walkers, some of whom have joined together to form the Save Our Cherryfield Space campaign group.

South Dublin County Council’s plans are part of a broader scheme to introduce a total of three playgrounds to Dodder Valley Park, with playground A being located at the Old Bawn Road side of the park, playground B is to be located at the Firhouse Road opposite The Speaker Connolly, while playground C is to be in Cherryfield.

Cherryfield Aerial 1

The area that the council plans for playgrounds and (below) the public notice regarding the construction of the play spaces

The plans, which are currently at the Part 8 public consultation stage, include provision for a play trail that will run through the park alongside the park’s existing footpaths, linking all three of the play spaces.

The Cherryfield section of the park is a popular spot for dog walkers, as they can allow their dogs to run off the leash in that area.

Knocklyon resident Mary Costello (56) from the Save Our Cherryfield Space campaign told The Echo: “I’ve been using the park every single day since 2007, because I had an accident and I had to walk the dog off-leash.

“The part that gets me about the park is that you could be in the middle of the country when you’re walking down there – it’s an absolute oasis.

“I enjoy walking my dog, Floyd, who is a black Labrador, down there because of the atmosphere.

“What I love about it is that you meet all of these people, and we all stop and talk to each other.”

Ms Costello said that she also has concerns about the impact a play space and play trail might have on local wildlife, as she has seen a badger, rabbits, and otters at the weir in the locality. “I’m not anti-playground,” she added, “I have kids, but in reality I think that it makes sense that the first two playgrounds are near housing estates, but with the plans for the playground in Cherryfield . . . there’s no housing estate there, it’s by a busy road, I can’t see the logic of it.

“There’s already a playground up the road in Tymon Park.

“There’s a whole community that uses Cherryfield, and I really think that the council are forgetting about all of the older people [who use the park].

“It’s a community of older people who are all out exercising, they’re all walking.

“Hundreds of people use that the park everyday – it’s not 20 or 30 people – and even if it’s bucketing rain, you’ll always meet someone there.

“The play trail is also a big issue, because it’s going to go right through the area.”

Submissions from members of the public in relation to these plans are currently being accepted by the council, and at the time of going to print 27 submissions had been received by the council.

A majority of these submissions, totalling ten, voiced support specifically for the Cherryfield play space plans, with most of those submissions stating that there is a need for a play space in Knocklyon and that they welcome the plans.

Eight submissions were in favour of all three of the play spaces throughout Dodder Valley Park, five of the submissions were against the plans for all three of the playspaces, three were against the Cherryfield play space specifically, while one of the submissions gave no opinion on the proposed play space developments, and instead called for a general upgrade to the park.

The closing date for submissions on the plans is next Friday, August 30 at 5pm, and submissions and observations on the play space plans can be made using the SDCC online consultation portal at consult.sdublincoco.ie, or by post.

Postal submissions can be sent to Senior Executive Officer, Environment Water and Climate Change Department, South Dublin County Council, County Hall, Tallaght, Dublin 24 YNN5.

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