Residents of a Dundrum housing estate are currently living with infrastructure so poor, that paths and roads are unusable by those needing assisted access.
Irate residents of Rosemount estate, Dundrum, have been in contact with Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council (DLRCC) for almost two years about accessibility issues and dilapidating infrastructure, with, what they claim, is little to no council action.
There is currently a building site in the middle of the estate, developing 44 new social housing units to replace the former Rosemount flats.
The scale of the building site has meant that a row of houses to the rear of Rosemount have such restricted access, that a local told Dublin Gazette that she felt like she is ‘living in a cage’.
There is a small walkway of space, but not large enough for a vehicle to pass through. A tragic incident occurred in one of these confined houses last week, where there was a delay in emergency vehicles being able to get to the scene due to the poor access.
Councillor Shay Brennan said: “I am disillusioned to learn of this, but not entirely surprised. The growing frustrations of the residents are very understandable as they consistently struggle to have their concerns addressed.
“It should not be necessary for a community at the heart of Dundrum to feel marginalised in this way.”
A representative from Townlink, the company employed by DLRCC for the project, told Dublin Gazette that they have ‘actively worked’ with the local community on road access.
“Townlink have been working on the Rosemount Court social housing project in partnership with the council and local community for over a year and a half.
“Due to the nature of the estate roads, any additional traffic must be carefully managed and controlled. We have actively worked with the local community to manage traffic and parking in the area during the week and have adhered strictly to the construction plan with the placement of all hoarding,” a representative from Townlink said.
Locals have also said that footpaths have been ‘destroyed’ due to trucks and heavy machinery from the site parking on the pathways.
When visiting the estate this week, we witnessed a wheelchair user unable to use the path due to the extreme damage that had been done to the concrete. The individual ended up having to leave the path, and unsafely use the road to continue their journey. There were large concrete trucks and other heavy machinery actively moving, just a few meters away on the same road.
Roadways in the estate are also in a state of disrepair, with speed bumps severely damaged.
One small green area adjacent to the building site had a number of cars parked on it, next door to the home of a young family.
A local committee group compiled a case study of the issues in Rosemount, addressing how a five-minute walk away, residents of Roebuck have had road safety concerns addressed, while Rosemount residents continue to deal with a number of issues.
According to the 2016 Pobal Deprivation indices, Rosemount is classed as ‘marginally below average’, while Roebuck is deemed ‘affluent’.
Talking to Dublin Gazette, a local resident, Eileen Kinch, said she believes it is ‘a form of social exclusion’ that the council have not responded to resident complaints.
“It seems to be a form of social exclusion almost, seeing what other areas around us get. There are so many things wrong with what’s happening. I’ve been living here most of my life, and I’ve never seen it this bad,” she said.
The issues in the estate were on the agenda of a local area meeting in Dundrum on May 9th. Councillor Sorcha Nic Chormaic (SF) proposed the motion that an access audit should be carried out of the estate.
However, a response from a senior executive engineer in municipal services, said the traffic section of DLRCC were ‘not aware of any incidents’.
Nic Chormaic said that the access issues are an ‘accident waiting to happen’.
“The community have raised issues time and again and feel they have fallen on deaf ears. I raised the issue of emergency vehicular access in Rosemount at a meeting of the Dundrum Area Committee on May 9th and received an unsatisfactory answer from the council, who said they were unaware of any access issues at the site.
“I believed at the time that this was an accident waiting to happen. I’m aware that some of the obstruction is temporary and related to ongoing construction works at the site.
“Should we really have to wait for tragedy to strike before something is done?”
In a statement, DLRCC said that Dublin Fire Brigade have said the roads are accessible, and that the road and footpaths in Rosemount ‘will be renewed to the same standard as those in the new development’ upon it’s completion. Landscaping is also planned for the estate, according to the council.
“The construction of these units is being advanced quickly and it is envisaged that the sub-base for the road will be laid within 2 – 3 weeks,” the statement read.
“The hoarding around the site has been moved in as far as possible to ensure maximum road space and the road has been marked to prevent parking.
“A random test in conjunction with Dublin Fire Brigade was undertaken and they have confirmed that the road is accessible and Contractors are informed not to cause obstruction when parking at the site. We also have a Clerk of Works on the site on a very regular basis,” DLRCC told Dublin Gazette.
Construction on the scheme is expected to be completed by October 2018.