Call for action as estate footpath issue lingers in Donabate

by Sylvia Pownall
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Fine Gael area representative Bob Dowling has called on the council to refuse to issue a completion cert for a Donabate estate, due to the closure of a right of way.

The housing development at Somerton, The Paddocks has drawn criticism from local residents who staged a peaceful protest recently over the footpath issue.

The pathway, which is used by school children accessing both primary schools and the community college, has been out of use for an entire school year.

Mr Dowling said: “I have repeatedly called for this footpath to be re-opened and it is clear to me that it should never have been closed in the first place.

Bob Dowling.

“Under the original planning application, it is a condition that the pathway would be retained in its entirety. In my view, that is a breach of the planning conditions, as the pathway has been somewhat altered and it has been closed for more than nine months.”

He added: “Both students of Donabate Community College and Educate Together have used this walkway since the opening of both new school buildings in 2011. Both schools have expressed their frustration at the closure of the pathway.

“I believe that we have a timeframe, in the summer months, to fix this problem before the children return to school in late August.”

Dublin Gazette last week reported how Fingal County Council “inadvertently” omitted a question from Donabate Cllr Paul Mulville (SD) about the right of way, which had been submitted for discussion at an Area Committee meeting.

The question asked for the council to outline the position regarding the reinstatement of the pathway on Ballisk Common between Portrane Road and the Donabate Portrane Community Centre.

The right of way was closed to facilitate gas works, but SPDD argues that these have now been completed so the pedestrian route should be reopened.

Mr Dowling referred to a case in Lusk where completion certificates were withheld until the open space provision, as per planning conditions was complied with, and said the council should do the same in Donabate.

He said: “The council does have real power to deal with this issue and I urge them to do so accordingly.”

In a statement to Dublin Gazette, Fingal County Council said the developer had yet to submit a commencement notice signifying intention to begin development.

Works to date are classed as site enablement works – meaning there has been no breach of planning conditions.

However, the local authority added: “The Planning Enforcement Section is presently in dialogue with the developer in question with respect to this matter.”

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