Halting site to be upgraded to a housing scheme with walkway
Plans to build three houses at the Silverbridge halting site were produced at last Tuesday's meeting of Bray Municipal District.
Declan Murnane from the housing department was there to discuss the project with members. The three houses would be home to an extended family currently living at the site.
Silverbridge was the first halting site in Co Wicklow.
Mr Murnane said that upgrading the accommodation has been discussed for some time.
There was a proposal in 2015 to build three new houses and change Silverbridge from a halting site to a housing scheme.
Officials looked at it again and have now proposed to convert five day units and a caretaker unit to three new houses. The advantage will be that they can do so one at a time, moving families in one by one, rather than having to house them somewhere else entirely during the build.
Silverbridge residents must currently walk to and from their home via the N11, where the only entrance exists.
This new project would include pedestrian access only across the original N11 onto Dargle Lane.
Cllr Joe Behan welcome the proposed upgrade. He said that Silverbridge is 25 years in existence and has gotten quite degraded.
'It's essential that there are proper standarts of accommodation put in there,' he said.
Cllr Behan said that it is extremely important that there is direct consultation with residents in the area. He said that locals had been quite helpful during the original installation. 'They had certain concerns which we tried to address and it would appear things have worked reasonably well through the years.'
Cllr Behan said that it's not right for any resident in a development managed and owned by the council to be told they must walk along the N11. 'When it was originally established there was less traffic and lower speeds. Things have changed and it's absolutely, dreadfully dangerous.'
Cllr Pat Vance voted against the halting site originally. 'And then I opened it,' he told members. 'The one reason and major reason I voted against it was because the entrance is on the N11. Any resident of County Wicklow who had looked for permission to build a house there with entry on to the N11 wouldn't have got it. I felt it was frightfully dangerous. I felt it was a cop out, to put the site there away from the general population.
'Cast iron guarantees were given to people with regard to no entrance or exit onto their land,' said Cllr Vance. 'This was the first halting site in Wicklow and I couldn't believe how well the people there behaved. They even came to the opening of the halting site. A lot of other places wouldn't have the same attitude. The least we can do is knock on doors and explain what we are talking about doing.'
Cllr Steven Matthews asked Mr Murnane what is there at the moment. 'Is it possible that people are already going up and down through it at the moment,' he said. Mr Murnane said it is quite overgrown, and there's no evidence that anyone is going through there.
Cllr John Ryan wondered if it may be the preference of residents to walk the N11 to get to the Dargle, regardless of whether an alternative pedestrian walkway is installed. He wondered if it would be possible to put a protected path on the N11. Mr Murnane said that this had been explored and a TII would not entertain that.
'The reality is if they want to go to the Dargle, they won't use the pedestrian exit,' said Cllr Ryan. The TII should cop on, he felt.
Cllr Ryan said that he has seen children on the river side of La Vallee and going along the top of a wall. 'It's frightening,' he said. 'One wrong step, and someone could hit their head.'
Mr Murnane said that there would be public consultation anyway, but that he would take on board the members' suggestion that residents of the area be contacted.