Wednesday 26 June 2019

Bid to see right of way re-open

John Manning

Following complaints from a local community group, Fingal County Council has said it 'inadvertently' omitted a question from a Donabate/Portrane councillor from the agenda of the June meeting of the Balbriggan Swords Area Committee.

The question was submitted by Cllr Paul Mulville (SD) and related to the closure of a right of way in Donabate. The omission of the question and therefore, its answer, from the agenda was described as 'extraordinary' by local community group, Supporting Proper Development in Donabate (SPDD).

The question asked for Fingal County Council to 'outline the current position regarding the reinstatement of the pedestrian right-of-way on Ballisk Common between the Portrane Road and Donabate Portrane Community Centre'. Cllr Mulville said the opening of the right of way was 'urgently needed on pedestrian safety grounds for children walking to school'.

The SPDD backed that call, with a spokesperson for the group saying: 'The right-of-way is used by children on their way to all schools on the peninsula. The right-of-way crosses the Paddocks site which has planning permission for housing.'

However, in the answer to the question that was omitted from the June meeting agenda, which has now been forwarded to Cllr Mulville, the council says there has been no breach of planning conditions at the site. The answer states planning conditions calls on the developer to provide 'details of the manner in which the existing footpath traversing the site will be protected / maintained during construction works'.

However, the local authority said: 'The developer has yet to submit a commencement notice signifying his intention to commence development.   'Works that have been carried out to date on site have been site enablement works therefore Condition 3 (C) of F15A/0456 has not been breached. A further Planning Application F18A/0302 was lodged on May 30, 2018 which includes the section of land on which the footpath currently transverses.'

The SPDD has argued that gas works on the site have been completed and there should therefore be an immediate move to re-open the pathway, a position that was this week supported by Fine Gael local representative, Bob Dowling. The SPDD said it was 'unacceptable' that Fingal County Council has 'not been more proactive on the issue' and said the failure to include Cllr Mulville's question last month was also 'unacceptable'.

A spokesperson for the community group said: 'The pathway was used extensively by children going and coming from the three primary schools and the community college.' The SPDD spokesperson said it was 'extraordinary that the right-of-way was still closed'.

Fingal Independent