There are currently just over 4,000 homes completed in Adamstown, with approx 1,000 more under construction. A further 2,000 have been granted planning permission.
(Update 14th September - the Council's presentation on Adamstown and Clonburris to elected members is now available here as a pdf document). This has some interesting graphics:
Airlie Park opening apparently imminent, possibly within two weeks
While the Council still can't give a precise date, it appears that opening is finally imminent. Barring some other unforeseen factor.
I inspected the park this week and everything looks good to go. Areas have been replanted. Playgrounds, are ready. Pavilion completed. Cricket pitch looks lovely and tennis courts good to go. Drainage does not appear to be an issue either. The last thing delaying the opening is a simple one. The Council is awaiting a testing report from the contractor for the all weather pitch so that it can be signed off as safe to use. It is due this week or early next week. Apparently the park cannot open until this element is sorted.
Once this report comes in and everything is up to specifications, the park will be ready to open and some barriers will be lifted initially to allow access, with the rest being raised and fencing removed in due course.
With all the delays thus far, here's hoping people get to enjoy it while the weather is still good.
Childcare facilities delay
Not in my video report as there's nothing new to add. The Giraffe facility opposite Lidl Shackleton has been delayed further, apparently staffing-related. There's a new building almost ready at St Helen's also, but no indication yet as to who will take it over. The issue with childcare is that while the SDZ plan ties in the provision of facilities with the housing, it is run by private operators rather than the state and if the state supports aren't in place for the free early years education there are less businesses willing to get into the sector and less people willing to work in childcare. It's a bigger issue than Adamstown and as Councillors we have no real input.
An Bord Pleanala will report back shortly in terms of the Council's application seeking flexibility on whether the fourth school site in the west of Adamstown SDZ should be primary or secondary.
Currently it is earmarked as primary since the days myself and my late colleague Cllr Fintan McCarthy tabled motions (2001-2003, against the wishes of Council management) adding in third and fourth primary school sites, before the plan became an SDZ. I'm in agreement that with a larger 32-class primary school earmarked, it makes sense to look at another second level school as required. I believe it will be required.
Now, on the video I reference that 2026 remains the scheduled opening for that third school site, the 32-class primary school beside Tandy's Lane that already has planning permission granted. There's a shortfall in the area already, so it needs to open asap. The Department normally drags its heels so I am also using the argument, with the Government using emergency legislation to build modular housing accommodation on agricultural lands off Tubber Lane for refugees from Ukraine, that there will be further demand for school places shortly, more than the Department originally earmarked in its usually conservative estimates. I am hoping that this will be a tipping point in terms of getting action.
Not to mention that residents in Hallwell, Gandon and Tandy's Lane have been having particular issues. Aderrig is nearly fully completed and construction continues apace, so it all adds up in terms of numbers and surely the Department must realise we are reaching a critical mass to get the school open earlier than planned. It's also the case that over in Finnstown Castle Hotel, where there are several hundred people in emergency accommodation, mostly due to rented properties being sold, there are up to 70 children in situ also. Most of them have to travel long distances to schools elsewhere, but children about to go to school will be seeking local provision and it will be challenge to get a place anywhere near the Newcastle Road. While I've mainly been focused on dealing with issues residents have been facing in terms of the quality of accommodation and related issues, I am also highlighting that there will be some demand for school places from here also.
Castlegate Park playground repair call
I've highlighted the need to repair the surface of this playground and also have a motion tabled requesting the Council to budget for an upgrade to this facility.
Commuter car parking
With planning permission for residential development, the temporary car park at the end of Station Road is closing. In the short term the developers will need to provide an additional temporary location for that park and ride while the new homes are under construction. The Council is in discussions with Quintain regarding the need for a long term park and ride and that may or may not include some of the multi-storey car park. I've raised the issue in terms of discounts etc for park and ride as not everyone is able to bus it to the station. The Council says there will always be some limited allowance made for people who need to drive to near the station, but the main focus will be on people with disabilities or those to need to drive for specific reasons.
Quintain open day Saturday 23rd at Adamstown Plaza, The Crossings, 12-5pm
Quintain Ireland is having an official opening of Adamstown Plaza at The Crossings at 1pm on Saturday 23rd. As part of this there will be a day of free festivities and fun for all the family including entertainment, carnival rides, food trucks and much more. There will also be a chance to meet Ladies international Cricketers Hannah & Louise Little.
Other issues raised
Having noticed a lack of post boxes, I've queried this with the SDZ liaison team to chase up. Another item that has been requested is bike lockers, in the vicinity of the train station. It's good to see that the widened turning point at the multi-storey car park appears to be working out. I've requested bins in Tandy's Lane Park, so far refused, but hopefully they will look at again. Road surfaces heading along Station Road and around The Crossings have been reported as pot-holed and then filled in. I will continue to monitor to see if further works are required. Lastly the Primary Care Centre negotiations continue between the developer and the HSE. The current issue appears to relate to insulation and energy efficiency, but hopefully this building will open by the end 2024. I was also contacted by residents in relation to the mobile phone service in Adamstown, specifically the signal strength for Three Ireland and the other networks feeding off it. While this is not a matter elected reps can influence directly, I did contact the company and they confirmed they are actively looking at boosting their signal in the area.