FF Cllr calls for rezoning of Swords Greenbelt

Vast majority of community oppose Motion 535

by Rose Barrett
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For over 25 years, residents of Rivervalley, Ridgewood and Knocksedan have been campaigning to protect a precious greenbelt area which sits between these three large communities in Swords.

Residents in the fast-growing Fingal community have steadfastly maintained that the merging of the three vast estates along with another new estate would result in one giant concrete urban sprawl.

It would, maintains a growing lobby group Save Swords Greenbelt, destroy a vital greenbelt in the middle of a climate change crisis, with the loss of biodiversity and increased pollution along with putting unsustainable pressure on existing services e.g., schools, healthcare, transport, and amenities.

Rivervalley, Ridgewood and Knocksedan would cease to exist as distinct communities.

A campaign spokesperson said “The community is disappointed to learn that Cllr Brigid Manton (FF) has raised a motion (motion 535 – AI081902) to rezone the greenbelt between Rivervalley, Ridgewood and Knocksedan (Brackenstown).

“This motion is in total opposition to the wishes of the vast majority of our community. It is also goes against the advice of Fingal County Council’s Chief Executive AnnMarie Farrelly who has called for the protection of this precious Greenbelt.

“Furthermore, five of the seven Swords councillors are actively supporting the campaign to retain and protect the greenbelt. We urge all Fingal Cllrs to please respect the wishes of our community and vote to protect the greenbelt.” Cllrs supporting the greenbelt are Cllr Ann Graves (SF), Joe Newman (Ind), Dean Mulligan(Ind4Change), Ian Carey (Greens) and Cllr James Humphreys (Lab).

Over three hundred submissions (329) were made during the current (2023-2029) Draft Development Plan (DPP) consultation process (the largest number of submissions on any single issue) asking for the greenbelt to be protected, the lobby group told the Gazette.

“Submissions were made by a range of residents, community groups and county councillors. In contrast, only two submissions called for the greenbelt to be rezoned. This means 99.4% of the community want the greenbelt retained and proteted!”

Over 2,000 residents in the area have signed a petition calling for the greenbelt’s protection.

In addition, FCC’s Chief Executive in support of the greenbelt stated: “Any encroachment into this strategic Greenbelt area would result in coalescence and the loss of definition between urban and rural areas and loss of strategic greenbelt lands and would seriously undermine the longstanding policy of the Council with regard to greenbelt protection and would be contrary to the zoning objective and vision to protect greenbelt lands as set out in the current FDP 2017-2023 and in the Draft Plan.”

Citing the greenbelt is the “lungs” of Swords’ growing community. SSGB states the precious green area plays a key role in protecting the ecology of Ward River Park. “Rezoning would destroy biodiversity and this precious resource. It will lead to increased pollution (air, water and noise) and traffic congestion, adding further to a planet that is already on fire.”

Cllr Dean Mulligan (Indepedents4Change) and Cllr James Humphreys (Lab) who also support the campaign

“For all of the reasons cited above (and more), retaining and protecting this greenbelt is highly significant for the health and well-being of the people living in the community, especially our children,” added the SSGB spokesperson.

“We are calling upon of Fingal’s Cllrs to reject Motion 535which calls for the land to be rezoned. Instead. Please vote to provide a clean, healthy and resilient community, especially for our children, now and for generations to come.

Save Swords Greenbelt can be contacted by email at [email protected],

www.facebook.com/SaveSwordsGreenbelt – see saveswordsgreenbelt.com

See previous article https://dublingazette.com/dublinlocalmatters/news/swords-greenbelt-under-threat-56788/

Feature photo shows Tony Flynn and Anne Lee (Save Swords Greenbelt) and Edward Stevenson (Swords Woodland Association) after handing over the petition to Cllr Ann Graves (SF), Cllr Ian Carey (GP) and Cllr Joe Newman (Ind). 

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