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Motion that ‘threatened’ Swords greenbelt is defeated by campaigners

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Swords residents group campaigned against the motion

Swords residents group campaigned against the motion

Swords residents group campaigned against the motion

fingalindependent

A local protest group has been successful in its bid to protect a Swords greenbelt which it has been campaigning tirelessly on for years.

Members of “Save Swords Greenbelt Campaign” protested outside County Hall recently for protection of the greenbelt surrounding Knocksedan, Ridgewood, and Rivervalley. Following a lengthy debate at recent Development Plan meetings, a motion was defeated which would have allowed the greenbelt to be rezoned as a residential area.

The motion was ultimately withdrawn, meaning it will not be going forward for the next phase of public consultation, and the lands will effectively be maintained as a greenbelt until the next development plan process in six years’ time.

A spokesperson for “Save Swords Greenbelt Campaign” told The Fingal Independent: “We’re absolutely thrilled, I think what it shows is that when the community comes together in large numbers we can actually achieve good things

“I think it’s a nice blueprint for the future, that if councillors try to put forward something that’s not in the interest of the community, we can stand up and say “no, that’s not in our interest and we want it removed.””

According to the spokesperson, the executive said there was already enough land zoned in Fingal to cope with population growth. There was no need or justification, therefore, to re-zone a valuable greenbelt.

He said: “The bottom line is that it should protect the greenbelt, but as a campaign we’re not standing down. “We’re staying vigilant because we don’t know if new legislation will be brought in or they’ll try to re-zone by the back door or something like that.”

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Green Party councillor, Ian Carey, who was at the Development Plan meetings, said: “...there was a general consensus that we should be protecting and preserving those lands, both for biodiversity and the potential they have for delivering the likes of sporting amenities.

“The feeling was, and it would be my feeling too, that we shouldn’t really zone those lands and hand them over for development just yet.

“We should be holding on to the open space and greenbelt that we have that’s close to the centre of Swords for creating biodiversity, creating wildlife corridors, but also protecting sporting amenity that we really badly need in the town.”

Cllr Carey said “massive credit” must go to the community campaign who were “real impetus” behind saving the greenbelt lands.

“It was heartening to see so many people come together and get their point across to protect that space”, he concluded. Cllr Brigid Manton (FF), who put forward a motion to rezone lands at Brackenstown, Swords told the council she was aware that her opinion did not meet with the agreement of other Swords councillors, but she believed her opinion was valid.

Cllr Manton said there were “thousands” of people on social housing lists, and “thousands” of young couples living in Swords who “cannot get a house.”

She believed that by working with the landowner – who in the past had donated land back to the community – “much needed houses can be built for our people.”

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