No fun and games as locals battle playground

by Emma Nolan
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PLANS for a children’s playground have divided a Dundrum neighbourhood – those in favour believe it will be great for local kids, but those against say it will attract anti-social behaviour. Several residents in the area contacted The Gazette this week presenting both sides of the argument.

The idea of a playground for Goatstown was raised around a year ago when some local parents started a campaign to have one built within walking distance for local children.

Plans for one were drawn up by the council who originally earmarked a site in Rosemount.

However, these were scrapped as a pre-existing football pitch, which is already widely used, would have had to have been dug up.

A different site on the green at Taney Crescent has now been selected and some residents say they fear a playground on the green will attract anti-social behaviour, traffic jams and graffiti.

“I’m worried about it attracting anti-social behaviour,” said Greg, who has two young boys. He explained that while he initially was in favour of the idea, he has since changed his mind.

“I visited a playground in Rathfarnham last week and I was impressed by it but it was graffitied and a resident there said that teenagers were hanging around it and broke a swing,” he said.

Another resident, Valerie said: “We were informed by the parks department that the playground was going to be built in Rosemount and then all of a sudden we get a note saying it’s going into Taney. Which is totally the wrong spot for it.”

Valerie said she feels that the council’s parks department are maintaining that the majority of people are in favour of the playground but that they have gone “far wider than Taney to get support”.

“They keep insisting it’s going to be a local playground but it’s not – people will be driving to it, there’ll be traffic jams.”

Fiona, who lives directly across from where playground is planned questioned why a playground is needed there.

“It’s a fabulous green space. I’ve got two small boys and they love playing out there; they play hurling, they have their bikes, I don’t personally see why they need a playground.”

Resident Joe and his wife are objecting to the playground because they’re worried it will attract teenagers who will cause disruption at night. He said: “Between that and the noise that would make – the police would come down and moved them on, but they’d just be back again.

“It’s lovely on paper but when you put it into practice it just doesn’t work.”

The council confirmed that “extensive local consultation” has taken place with the residents of the Taney area with regard to the construction of a playground at the open space at Taney Crescent.

A spokesperson explained that there is a “recognised deficit in playing facilities” in this part of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown and a “very strong demand in the locality for this facility”.

“It is proposed to design and locate it in a way that minimises the potential for anti-social behaviour.

“It is also proposed to design the facility using the concept of Natural Play which enhances the opens space, and seeks to minimise the impact of the facility.”

Those in favour of the playground say that a playground will be a great addition to the area.

Supporter, Will said that those who want the playground are just “looking to make the place better”.

“It’s a forlorn park that’s not used and a playground there will be great for the community.”

Another resident, Andrew, said: “In April of this year I called to approximately 50 houses in the immediate vicinity of the green at Taney. The vast majority of people I spoke to supported the installation of a playground on the green.

“I realise that there are a number of people opposed to the playground. However, I believe the facility will provide a significant boost to the local community. I have met parents on the green who have told me how difficult it has been for their children to meet other children living nearby.”

Suzanne, who organised a sports day for more than 100 local children last week – and which went down with “no issues” – said: “To say that there’s not enough children in the area is quite ridiculous. There are five children under the age of one on my road alone.”

Another ‘pro-playground’ resident, Una, said that she thinks opposition to the playground is because some residents are “afraid of change”.

She told The Gazette: “As far as the anti-social behaviour goes, open spaces like that could always attract people, whether there’s a playground on it or not. We spoke to the guards in Dundrum about this and they said that they didn’t think it would be a problem if a playground was put in.”

Una pointed out that there is no centre in Goatstown and a new playground will be a start to building more of a community spirit.

“My great hope is that once it’s in, people will realise it’s a good thing.”

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