Submission on behalf of the Social Democrats Meath East towards the play policy being developed by Meath County Council.
- How best can we ensure that each community has resources to promote and facilitate widespread sports participation?
- How effective are current play facilities?
- Is the current resource model fair; how could it be improved?
- How can we help to reduce costs for grassroots activities?
Key Issues Raised
- Fair allocation of resources → a more transparent and fairer allocation model for the capital play program;
- Instability of the current funding model for grassroots capital funding;
- Addressing some of the underlying costs for grassroots activity,
- The importance of urban design in accommodating and planning for play → Better planning rules so that sport, recreation and community activity are built into the design of new neighbourhoods, and so that existing community resources such as schools, community centres or buildings are made available when not in use to facilitate activity (with out-of-hours availability).
- The important role play and activities play in physical and mental health,
- The important role play has in community sustainment and integration.
Records obtained from Meath County Council indicate there are currently 26 playgrounds in Co. Meath. The allocation is quite disproportioned with 14 out of 26 playgrounds in North Meath, allocated between Navan (9) and Kells (5) Municipal Districts. The remaining 4 Municipal Districts share the other 11 playgrounds between then, with only 1 in Ashbourne (Meath’s second largest town) and none in Stamullen despite it being identified as an area of fast growth. Ashbourne has a population of 15.000 so keeping the 1 playground per 3000 residents ratio in mind, 4 more playgrounds are required urgently. Only one playground appears to cater for children with special needs (Andy Brennan Park playground, Navan).
Playgrounds in Ashbourne should be added in the Johnswood/Milbourne estate, Baldara court area, Archerstown wood and Garden city.
- Priority should be given to provide playgrounds in areas currently having the least allocation.
- At least one playground in each Municipal District should be refurbished/amended to include play materials for children with specials needs.
There is an urgent requirement for more public parks across Co. Meath with particular focus in Ashbourne with regard to the development of the Linear Park. And also a full size public park which will allow activities for all ages and should contain football grounds, playground,
Men’s shed i.e vegetable plot, public recycling facility, scout & girl guide area, skate park, etc.
Access to play materials / loans library
Some European countries have developed “play materials libraries” where voluntary organisations can rent sports or recreational materials (such as goals, cones, etc) for a nominal fee,, leaving them in safe storage for the rest of the year when not required.
Where possible, we would like to see Meath County Council roll out summer camps to all area’s within Co. Meath.
Future Planning Notices with regard to housing estates—incentive to create a variety play spaces within residential developments.
All planning developments should look at the long term and take a sustainable approach to families purchasing in housing estates and settling down with young children.
- All estate planning notices should include a mandatory playground area within the estate, without this proviso planning permission should not be granted.
- Any housing estate being build to an adjoining estate should incorporate walking access to the adjoining estate by means of a safe footpath.
- The entire housing estate should be designed in such a fashion that it can be navigated on foot entirely by means of footpaths.
- A suitable proportion of the estate should be green areas with native vegetation, shrubs and trees creating further play space.
Specific considerations for Stamullen
- Implementation of playground
The weekend commute of Stamullen based parents towards the nearest playground in Laytown is become an increasing point of frustration. Meath County Council have given intent in the Draft 2017-2020 Capital Program for the commitment of €130,000 towards the provision of a playground for Stamullen. We strongly urge the council to prioritise this much overdue commitment (based on the diligent work already put in by the local group “Stamullen Needs A Playground”) and we ask to keep working towards the implementation of said playground. We regret to note that these efforts need to be made by the community with no ownership being taken on this issue by Meath County Council.
- Review of existing housing estates interconnectivity
Proposal of small remedial works linking the existing estates (1) Silverstream to Glasheen/Kilbreck (2) Silverstream, Glasheen/Kilbreck to Forgehill (3) Gracemeadows to The Orchard. Additionally, also adding footpaths where no safe walkways currently exists (Kilbreck) so that the entire estate can be navigated on foot or by bicycle without needing to walk on the main road.
- Development of former GAA club house into (youth) club facilities , with specific detail for creating a space for children and teenagers with sensory requirements.
Currently the only public space is available are the parochial hall and St. Patricks GAA hall. The former GAA club house could be redeveloped for use by community groups as well as youth groups, catering for the growing population of Stamullen. Some club proposals could be CoderDojo, Lego Club, Foroige, etc.
- Development of nature area across the river Delvin
There is a wonderful opportunity to create a natural site with walkways across the river Delvin, which would provide ample play and recreational opportunities for Stamullen residents and children.
We refer to the following points from the Meath County Development Plan 2013-2019 for linking in with the points raised above for play policy as these can be linked in order to achieve the same goals.
CF POL 3 To provide playground facilities in Stamullen on appropriately zoned lands.
UD POL 4 To improve street finishes, footpaths and the public domain.
Movement and Access
MA OBJ 3 To facilitate the provision of pedestrian linkages from Silverstream Road to
Cockhill Road through established residential areas.
MA OBJ 4 To facilitate the provision of a riverside walk adjacent to the River Delvin.
Paul Nolan (Local Area Representative Ashbourne), John King (Chair), Francis Kitson (Treasurer), Martin St Ledger (Secretary), Sarah Vanden Broeck (Local Area Representative Stamullen) on behalf of Social Democrats Meath East.