Fingal Independent

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Balrothery vote was for 'proper planning'


A People Before Profit councillor who voted to block a social housing development in Balrothery has explained why he voted against the controversial project.

Cllr Barry Martin (PBP) faced some criticism at the council for his vote against plans to build 10 social housing units in Balrothery. The project ultimately won the approval of a majority of councillors who voted in favour of the development despite a lot of vocal opposition from locals.

Cllr Martin sided with those local opponents of the scheme and said he did so in the interests of 'proper planning in Balrothery'.

Cllr Martin told the Fingal Independent: 'Balrothery has expanded from a small village of about 150 houses to over six hundred today.

'This has occurred without any corresponding expansion in social infrastructure. There are no medical services, doctor, dentist or pharmacies; no public transport beyond the Bus Eireann service; the schools are overcrowded and a proper village green or park has not been developed.

'Yet instead of rectifying this situation in advance, Fingal County Council are proposing to build more houses in the area.'

Cllr Martin explained: 'I am totally for an expansion of the social housing scheme. Past policies supported by Labour and Fine Gael has led to a situation where there are hundreds of families on the housing list in the Balbriggan area alone.

'But there is no contradiction between demanding more social housing and insisting on proper planning which provides people with a decent social environment in which to live. This is why I voted against further housing development in Balrothery at this stage.'

He added: 'I do not want to see people who are allocated to social housing -including units for disabled persons- put into a situation where their children cannot get access to schools, where they have no immediate access whatsoever to medical services or are unable to avail of a proper public transport system.

I have written to the planning department of Fingal to provide PBP with a full list of sites held by Fingal County Council which have been zoned for housing.

I shall be insisting on building far more social housing units than the small number planned for Balrothery on alternative sites. Nationally we need an emergency building programme of social housing.'