THE council has faced opposition at a public meeting to its plans to turn part of a green space in a Skerries estate into a juvenile playing pitch.
The plans for the green in front of the ' The Promenade' in Kelly's Bay have been the subject of local controversy for months and earlier this month, a public meeting was called to discuss the issue at the Old School next to the Little Theatre in Skerries. The council called the meeting which was attended by residents and members of the Kelly's Bay Residents Association (KBRA). KBRA chairman, Stephen Phillips said: ' The KBRA were initially surprised by this as we had been awaiting a meeting with the council to discuss the ongoing issues of both the grass cutting and ideas as to what the future may hold for the green area. '
The wording of the notice also caused us some concern as it read "In accordance with the Fingal County Development Plan, a juvenile pitch will be developed on part of the open space area".' Some residents were concerned that the plans were a 'done deal' and would go ahead regardless of their views, according to the chairman. The meeting went ahead amid an atmosphere described as ' negative' by the KBRA chairman. But Mr Phillips explained: 'It should be mentioned at this point that not all Kelly's Bay residents are against a pitch, indeed it was noted by a number that what the residents want to avoid is the feelings of ' Us vs Them', with 'Them' being Skerries Harps (who would use the juvenile pitch).
'However, the feeling of the residents as a whole was that the plan as it stands is not suitable for Kelly's Bay.' Those in favour of the pitch expressed concerns about the access and parking around the facility and the strict conditions the club would have to adhere to in managing the facility. But those opposed, according to the KBRA chairman, believed there was a ' very real fear that their house valuation would be further reduced by the situation of a pitch on the green'.
Mr. Phillips said: 'One resident claimed to have spoken to a number of estate agents and the figure they received in reply was a drop of €20,000, a very sizable sum to anybody considering selling their home in the near future.' He added: ' The appropriateness of a pitch being located in a residential area where many of the residents would have no use for it, indeed that the sporting facility chosen being a pitch for the sole use of one particular sport in a community with a great many sporting clubs with the need of such a facility.
'Many felt that this was not what they had 'signed up for' when purchasing in Kelly's Bay and that their quality of life will be directly affected by this proposal.' The KBRA said it hoped to have further discussions on the issue with Fingal County Council and continue to work with them 'in line with partnership resolution to devise a plan for the green area that addresses the needs of the whole community, both young and old'. Mr Phillips concluded: ' This partnership approach will be cognisant of the views of the residents, respectful of their quality of life, yet forward thinking and progressive in the planning and use of such a wonderful resource for the community as a whole.'