By Councillor Ruth Coppinger
IMAGINE THOUSANDS of houses left bereft of schools, open space or a community centre for years. Imagine green areas, playgrounds, parks and pitches left unfinished and/or withheld from residents for years while builders move on happily to their next profitable project.
This was a common scenario for residents of greater Blanchardstown, some of whom recently awoke to see their builder’s name listed as an alleged member of the “Anglo 10”. Mennolly Homes and Castlethorn Contruction built thousands of homes in Dublin 15 but have had a less than perfect record with Fingal Council and owed acres in open space for years to the people who paid handsomely for their homes.
During a planning hearing for one major project (Hansfield SDZ, 3000 housing units), Mennolly famously argued they should not have to leave a site for schools as the existing ones could easily cope with additional pupils! This at a time when the shortage of school places was making headlines. Castlethorn Construction left residents chasing them for recreational land owed for developments in Diswellstown.
The antics of these and other golden circle developers has left Dublin West high and dry, badly lacking open space and amenities for the population of 90,000. All these companies have lucrative investments at home and abroad to tide them through the recession. While not listed as an Anglo “patriot”, the area of Tyrrelstown has seen the worst case of this. Twinlite Developments built the estate of 2,000 houses/apartments in record time from 2002 to present. In a disgraceful deal, Fingal County Council accepted money in lieu of open space onsite. Seven years on, residents still have no permanent school, no open space and no community facility. Twinlite managed to purchase a bank in England last year and to apply for a Disney-style theme park just this month.
With 20 babies a month born in the estate, the need for child and youth facilities is blatantly clear. We encourage residents to use the local elections to get what is owed to this community – permanent schools and a park in the adjacent closed-down golf course. We have also called on the Council to acquire an interim community facility immediately in the shopping area and will be working further with residents on this.