Fingal County Council has recently announced plans to develop an Urban Greenway along the Royal Canal that would serve Castleknock, Blanchardstown, Clonsilla, Coolmine and the wider Dublin 15 area. As a long-standing supporter of developing the Canal for leisure, walking and cycling I am pleased to see these proposals from the Council, however the proposed route between Castleknock and Coolmine is unsatisfactory to local residents. I find it unfortunate that local residents were not consulted on the route prior to the publication of plans, as a number of the problems identified with the route could have been dealt with early on.
Residents of Dublin 15 deeply appreciate the Canal and strongly support the improvement of this amenity for walkers and cyclists alike, but the Council must listen to the views of residents and ensure that the Greenway is developed in a way that enhances the areas around the Canal instead of being unwittingly destructive. As part of the public engagement process, I have submitted a letter to the Council outlining the issues I have with the proposed route.
This can be read as follows:
Planning and Strategic Infrastructure Department,
Fingal County Council,
County Hall, Main Street,
To Whom It May Concern,
I wish to make a submission as an elected representative and T.D. for the Dublin West area, on the emerging route for the Royal Canal Greenway. As a public representative and a long-standing supporter of developing the Canal for leisure, walking and cycling to and from the city centre, I find it unfortunate that local residents were not consulted on the route proposed by DBFL Consultants (on behalf of Fingal County Council), as a number of the problems I have identified could have been dealt with early on.
The proposed route between Castleknock and Coolmine is unsatisfactory to local residents and I am requesting the Council to change the route so that the Greenway will proceed on the south side of the Canal, between Granard Bridge and Kirkpatrick Bridge. The proposed route between Castleknock and Coolmine is inappropriate for the following reasons:
– The Greenway will be running through a stretch of ground on the north side of the Canal, behind Delwood, Bromptom and Roselawn, that is a designated wildlife corridor, and construction on this bank would destroy the habitats of local wildlife, flora and fauna.
– The Greenway includes plans to open or re-open access ways from existing cul-de-sacs in Delwood, Brompton, Roselawn, and Lambourn, subjecting local residents to a recurrence of the anti-social behaviour they had previously experienced before fighting to have these access points closed many years ago.
– Opening up quiet cul-de-sacs to a busy Greenway creates serious risk to the safety of children playing on the local roads of Delwood, Brompton, Roselawn, and Lambourn.
– Excessive parking is likely to occur on the roads of Brompton, Delwood, Roselawn, Glenville, and Woodview, as commuters use local residential roads as an alternative to the paid park and ride facility at Coolmine train station.
– Several of the properties along the proposed route either back onto the Greenway or have been extended onto the Greenway. Many of these were legally acquired from OPW/CIE.
– The Greenway would overlook homes in Delwood Park in an intrusive and unacceptable fashion, The “mound” at the rear of the Delwood Park houses backing onto the Canal is roughly the same height as the top of the garden walls; a walkway here would completely overlook and look down on the back of these gardens in an unacceptably intrusive way.
These issues can be avoided by running the Greenway along the south side of the Canal as far as Kirkpatrick Bridge. I am asking the Council to prepare an amended plan under Section 8 of the Planning and Development Act to ensure that the Greenway follows a route along the south side of the Canal up to Kirkpatrick Bridge. This had been the proposal from the feasibility report (Atkins Proposal) completed in 2012.
It is also not clear whether An Garda Siochana have been consulted in relation to the proposals, but I can attest that when the north side of the Canal was open between these points it became infamous for severe anti-social behaviour. Once the north side was closed off and planted as it is today, these problems disappeared, but before that many of the residents’ lives had been made a misery. If the Council wants evidence on this, it can be easily verified.
In addition, there is no evidence that an environmental impact study was carried out on the proposed route. The north of the Canal is a wildlife habitat for many species, flora and fauna, this includes protected species.
The proposals contain no detailed cost implications but given the structure of the Canal, I believe it is likely the proposals will be expensive to implement. I believe all the objectives of the Greenway can be achieved by upgrading and improving the south bank of the Canal, for the same or for less than the cost of the current proposals.
If there are significant funds being made available for the Greenway, I believe that a better usage of the funds would be to build a pedestrian bridge in the vicinity of the Royal Canal Amenity Group building that would give access to St Catherines Park. This would give safe pedestrian access to an area where pedestrian facilities and cycle facilities are now very limited, due to the number and speed of cars in the area. This would also link the River Liffey and the Canal, and massively extend walking and cycling facilities in the area.
Residents of Dublin 15 and Dublin 7 deeply appreciate the Canal and strongly support the improvement of the Canal, however I urge the Council to listen to the views of residents and ensure that the Greenway is developed in a way that enhances the amenity of the Canal instead of being unwittingly destructive.
Joan Burton TD