Saturday 16 December 2017

'Racecourse' project delays

Fingal Mayor David O’Connor with Holly and Hannah Ludden and Edith Rodgers at the sod turning last year
Fingal Mayor David O’Connor with Holly and Hannah Ludden and Edith Rodgers at the sod turning last year

The work required to transfer control to the council of the former marketing suite at Racecourse Park in Baldoyle is frustratingly slow and is delaying efforts to turn the building into a community facility for the people of Baldoyle and nearby Portmarnock.

Cllr Cian O'Callaghan (SD) asked for a report on the long-running saga to see ownership of the building transferred from private hands to the council, but the local authority did not have much good news to report.

In a written report on the issue, the council explained: 'It should be noted that the Community Development Officers are in contact with a number of groups from the Baldoyle area that have expressed interest in using the property. However, until such time as an assessment of the condition of the building is completed and the cost and time line for w orks is available consultation and community planning is premature and could raise undeliverable expectations.'

The council added: 'Property Services Division and the council's Law Department are making every effort to complete this acquisition; however the delay lies with the property owner.

'The council will continue to pursue the acquisition with a view to completing same as soon as possible. As soon as the acquisition is complete and the required inform ation available the Community Department will undertake a community consultation, planning and an expression of interest process.'

Cllr O'Callaghan said he was 'very concerned this is taking such a long number of years' and added: 'There doesn't seem to be any progress on this at all, that I can see.' He said that children in the area that could have benefited from a community use for the site are 'beginning to grow old and we will see them moving out before these facilities are in place'. He pushed the council to do more to complete the deal.

The progress report on the project was presented on foot of a motion proposed by Cllr Brian McDonagh (Lab) back in October. Cllr McDonagh said he shared Cllr O'Callaghan's concerns on the lengthy delays in getting this project off the ground. Cllr David Healy (GP) agreed and said it was time for the council to go in and assess the building and start engaging with the community on its future use.

Senior council official, Paul Smyth assured councillors that the local authority was doing all it could to complete the transfer but needed 'a willing partner on the other side'.

Fingal Independent

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