I’ve blogged before about the uncertainty and concern that planning issues can arouse in local communities … and about the manner in which some politicians mislead communities about these issues for political gain.
I believe that planning should be community-led rather than developer-led … and that depends on communities being given all the facts about a particular proposal so that they can make an informed decision. It also, of course, depends on communities having the structures through which they can make a decision and influence planning issues.
That’s why we’re going to be spending the next few weekends distributing information leaflets on the plan by Dublin City Council to re-develop part of Pearse Park to provide a range of amenities to the people of Crumlin and surrounding areas. These amenities include a swimming pool and leisure centre, as well as other sports facilities (a new boxing club, changing facilities for soccer and GAA), a state-of-the-art children’s playground and a community crèche for 70 children. In order to finance this project, the Council proposes selling off a very small strip of land for housing. Click here for an aerial photograph of Pearse Park showing the approximate size of the strip in question.
Like a lot of people, I don't like the idea of selling off public land. But the City Council cannot afford to build this complex itself – it relies on government grants. And – especially as we head into an economic downturn – money is simply not going to be forthcoming from central government. Which is why the Council needs the revenue from the sale of this small strip in order to provide the people of Crumlin with the facilities they deserve.
But the decision shouldn’t simply be up to me or other politicians - and it certainly shouldn't be up to developers.
This project affects Crumlin. And I believe that Crumlin voices should be heard. The best way to progress this project, while also taking account of community concerns, is to establish a representative steering committee. This committee would include:
· All local councillors;
· Crumlin Network, representing residents;
· GAA (Crumlin Gaels);
· Soccer interests (Crumlin United);
· Crumlin Bowling Club;
· Dublin 12 Childcare Consortium
· Crumlin Boxing Club
· Representatives of swimming interests
I will be proposing the establishment of this Steering Committee to the City Council as the best way of ensuring YOUR voice is heard.
If you want to know more, you can download the 15-page plan for Pearse Park and Crumlin Leisure Centre here, and a copy of the leaflet we’re distributing is available here (please note that downloads may be slow with a dial-up connection. PDF files require Adobe Reader, which is available for download here).