€100k for Lusk town ‘master plan’ welcomed

by Rose Barrett
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Rose Barrett

There was much political applause recently when Fingal County Council secured funding for Lusk in the first-ever Town Centre First Plans. Lusk was one of 26 towns nationally selected to secure €100,000 for consultation fees to develop a master plan for the town.

Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, announced the €2.6m in funding for local authorities, as part of ‘Our Rural Future’ – the government’s ambitious five-year strategy designed to reimagine and revitalise rural communities.

A key priority of the initiative is to tackle dereliction, vacant properties and make town centres more attractive places to live, work, socialise and run a business.  

With funding for the project now secured, Fingal Co Co will work closely with local community groups, retailers and interested parties.  In developing a master plan, the council will be building on the ‘Lusk Vision 2030: Lusk for Life’ Strategic Plan a community-led action plan for Lusk town commissioned by Lusk Community Council.

Dublin Fingal TD, Alan Farrell (FG) was delighted to see Lusk chosen as the Dublin recipient in the rural initiative. He said: “This is really exciting news for Fingal and for the residents of Lusk; this plan will see derelict and vacant buildings rejuvenated and allow the town to react to emerging opportunities, as well as creating a living town centre for residents and visitors to enjoy.”

Cllr Ann Graves (SF) similarly welcomed the investment in devising a master plan for Lusk town. However, she questioned the planning legality of a master plan.

This allocation is to develop a master plan to focus on tackling dereliction and vacancy. However, commitments already made to the community should take priority.  Master plans in the past haven’t been adhered to, particularly in relation to SHDs and decisions made by An Bord Pleanála. 

What we need to ensure is that stakeholders are listened to – the long-term viability of sports and recreational clubs need to be considered and when local sports clubs are already expressing reservations about the lack of a consistent approach from Fingal Co Co, they should be listened to.”

Cllr Graves noted when she first joined Fingal Co Co, she was so impressed with a master plan for Fosterstown being drawn up.

“I was genuinely impressed with the level of detail, the process and work by councillors and Fingal Co Co staff. We came up with a good plan, covering amenities, infrastructure and services until MKN Property Group submitted a SHD application to ABP which the latter approved, despite going against the local area and Fingal County Development Plan.

“Now, locals have gotten together to fight a judicial review and are awaiting the outcome. So, I hope to God, if we are going to spend €100k on a ‘master plan’, then it’s time for planning legislation to be introduced to allow the master plan to supersede all other planning bodies and government initiatives. If it’s a master plan, then it needs to be copper fastened under planning guidelines!”

Every plan noted Cllr Graves needs to be “tweaked and re-tweaked before the final master plan is reached and if this €100,000 results in a plan that rids Lusk of derelict building and sees urban renewal and re-energisation, it will be money well spent.”

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