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No rezoning of public lands for private gain
Friday July 25, 2008 15:13 by Northside Anarchist - WSM - May 1st Branch (pc)
Save Seagrange Park
A strong message has been sent to developers Quinn Property over the future of Seagrange Park, Baldoyle, following a public meeting held at Bayside community hall last week (Tuesday July 15th).
Baldoyle and Bayside locals gathered at the community centre to discuss proposals made by developers Quinn Property, along with the Affordable Homes Partnership, to have the Brickfields site rezoned for the construction of a six-storey block of apartments.
The apartment block, if constructed, would be an eyesore in an area filled with two storey houses and require rezoning of a publicly owned park for private development including a local GAA training pitch.
The park also suffers massive drainage issues, being used as a floodplain for the entire Baldoyle area.
Over 60 locals gathered to tell developers that, while they supported the construction of affordable homes in the area, the Brickfields site is completely unsuitable for this development.
It was highlighted that Quinn Property were simply using the Affordable Homes Partnership as a front to get public land rezoned, something which would not be possible if it were a regular development.
Throughout the meeting the inconsistency of Quinn Property’s plans were highlighted by locals; their initial statement of 100% affordable homes has reduced in every statement by the group since and is currently at 70% and falling.
Representatives of the developers attempted to misrepresent the local opposition to the development as snobbery, stating that the community had confused social housing with affordable housing. They stated that they ‘understood’ why locals would be opposed to social housing and the type of neighbours it might bring.
Insulted locals quickly explained that they had no problem with social housing and that Quinn were simply using the affordable housing angle to guilt the community into allowing an unsuitable development in their local park.
Local Councillors David Healy (Greens) and Joan Maher (Fine Gael) came in for heavy criticism for their failure to take into account an alternate plan for the site put forward by the community in 2004. The plan called for the creation of public amenities on the site including meeting rooms, sports changing rooms and a public café.
Renewed calls to hand the site over to the community rather than continue to allow it to fall into disrepair were made. At present the council appears to be allowing the site to fall into total disrepair, preferring private redevelopment to providing public amenities.
Local GAA group, Na Dubh Ghall, outlined their need for a clubhouse and changing rooms, having gone seven years with over 23 teams getting changed in the park. The team says that the Brickfields site would put to best use if handed over to local sports teams and the community.
While Fingal County Council claims that there are currently no plans to rezone the site, locals remain sceptical. Following the recent overturning of planning permission granted by the County Council for the Bayside Square development, Quinn Property and the council will face a strong fight if they try to encroach on our public parks.
Workers Solidarity Movement supports Baldoyle and Bayside residents in their call for more public amenities and opposition to private development on public parklands.
For more information on the Brickfields site check out local Socialist Party activist Brian Greene's website at www.dublin13.com