Saturday 17 March 2018

Council backs plan for Slane community garden

The proposed site for the community garden in Slane.
The proposed site for the community garden in Slane.

Alison Comyn

MEATH COUNTY Council is unanimously backing proposals for a community garden in Slane Main Street, once the public toilets are demolished next year.

No funding has yet been secured, but at a presentation at the Slane Area meeting from Slane Tidy Towns, the civic space were described as somewhere to 'pause, rest, think, observe and enjoy'.

Landscape architect Rachel Murphy and garden centre owner Aileen Muldoon Byrne, both with Slane Tidy Towns, presented their detailed plans to local councillors, following extensive consultation with residents and local landowners.

'We carried out a village engagement programme in September and October, getting suggestions for what people would like in the space, and everyone we spoke to thought it would be an exciting and welcome addition to the village,' said Rachel.

'We even spoke to the schools and youth cafe, and most people agree they would like to see trees, benches, wildlife, perhaps a pond or fountain, somewhere to sit and enjoy a coffee or a book in the middle of the village.'

The initial phase of the project takes in the small piece of land across from the Conyngham Arms, where there are plans to demolish the old toilets in the new year.

However, the second phase would take in the neighbouring derelict piece of land, to incorporate a lawn, raised beds or stage, and more flowers and trees.

'We have spoken to the landowners and they have agreed to allow us to use it, and we feel this whole area could be a welcome mat for people to Slane,' added Aileen.

'It would need lighting to be safe at night and it could be a winner for everyone, a real civic space for all to use and enjoy.'

The smaller area would have moveable planter pots with floral landscaping, trees and somewhere to sit and relax.

The larger area could house outdoor entertainment, markets, sculptures or school projects or exhibtions.

Councillors were all in agreement with the plan - Slane councillor Wayne Harding said it was an 'excellent idea' however could envisage issues with the private land, and had concerns over funding.

'My big concern is that borrowed land won't get funding so you would need to look at getting some sort of lease, so it could be included in grants,' said Cllr Eoin Holmes.

'I would like to hear more detail on timelines and costing , but otherwise it sounds like a great project which would be open to mixed use.'

Drogheda Independent