Monday 20 November 2017

More objections to playground plan than to incinerator

Christian McCashin

IT'S the sort of amenity most communities would welcome with open arms.

But when a local council offered to spend €150,000 on a state-of-the-art playground for young children, more than 700 local residents objected to the plan.

Councillors were "shocked" by the number of objections to the fun park -- more than twice as many as An Bord Pleanala received against a controversial local incinerator.

Sitting next to Junction 7 of the M1, the village of Stamullen in leafy Co Meath proved an excellent place for Dublin commuters looking for new homes -- and the population exploded in size during the Celtic Tiger years. The village now boasts around 2,000 residents.

A site in the Mountain View estate in the village ticked all the boxes of road access, being overlooked by housing and with plenty of car parking space available nearby.

Luckily enough, the council owned the land that was earmarked for the playground and a planning notice was put up two years ago.

But then the trouble started.

At one council meeting where the plan was being discussed, locals turned up waving placards in the chamber protesting about the playground.

One resident of the estate for more than 30 years said: "The green is just not suitable for a playground, it is too close to the busy road, there are no plans for toilet facilities there and it will attract antisocial behaviour."

Councillors were so overwhelmed with the number of objections they gave up counting the complaints and decided to round off the figure at "700-odd".

"It is an older estate where families would have been reared 20 years ago -- and nowadays there would be only six to 10 children living there. Also, it would have been very difficult for old people living in the locality," Meath County Council Chairwoman Anne Dillon-Gallagher explained to the Sunday Independent.

"I felt it would cause noise no matter how good it would have been for children and there are much larger estates where if we have the land a playground would be ideally situated," she said.

"It will not now be built there," she concluded. "Now we will go and look for somewhere else."

Sunday Independent

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