Locals demand a wider role in shaping a Donabate urban plan

by Sylvia Pownall
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Residents in Donabate and Portrane have demanded full participation in shaping plans for the town centre on the peninsula amid claims they are being short-changed.

At a packed public meeting last week, they voted overwhelmingly to seek full participation in putting together an Urban Framework Plan (UFP) for the area.

Despite major residential growth, the town continues to suffer with commercial, retail and community facilities only capable of serving a small rural village, the meeting heard.

But the community council said it was concerned that FCC has been rebuffing its efforts over the past few months to have a meaningful consultation process.

Last week there were claims and counter claims over an invite-only consultation meeting in the local library, with some people claiming they were locked out and denied access.

The community council said all residents should be involved rather than invite-only focus groups, with chairman Charlie Weston insisting there will be “no divisions” locally.

He said people on the peninsula are at the “end of their tether” due to the slow pace of the delivery of infrastructure to accommodate the house-building surge.

Figures were produced showing that in the three years to 2018, the peninsula has had just €650,000 invested by FCC on infrastructure.

Over the same period, the council has generated €15.5m in development levies and commercial rates.The community was being “short-changed”, the meeting was told.

Two weeks ago, FCC announced that it had “commenced an extensive consultation process” in Donabate ahead of an UFP.

The local authority said the meeting in Donabate Library, which saw more than 50 invited representatives from 25 community groups attend, was just the first step in the participation process.

It stated: “Extensive and proactive participation with the community is a key feature of urban framework plans. The work and the input from the community is crucial.”

Council chief executive Ann Marie Farrelly said: “Unfortunately, some people in Donabate were misinformed by others as to the purpose of [the] workshop.

“We issued invitations to more than 50 community organisations in the area and have plans to hold more workshops with other stakeholders in the coming weeks.

“The people of Donabate, like the people of Rush, will have a significant input into this UFP, and we look forward to creating and implementing a new vision for Donabate town centre.

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