Some good news: there will be a lot of investment from the council into new and upgraded playgrounds for our area in the next 12 months. At a council meeting on Monday, councillors received notice that the Parks Department intend to build 2 new playgrounds and upgrade 3 existing playgrounds in our area.
The playgrounds are:
- Kilcross (new)
- Fernhill (new)
- Marlay Park toddler playground (to be upgraded)
- Belarmine, at the Plaza (to be upgraded)
- Orby Park in the Gallops (to be upgraded)
Public consultation on the playgrounds to be upgraded has started and you can see details of it here.
will be held over the coming months to give local communities the chance to have their say on the kinds of play facilities needed locally. For the new Kilcross playground this will include community input into the exact location of the new playground. See below report provided to us this week (a PDF of the report is here).
How were the new and upgraded playgrounds chosen?
Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown’s Parks Department did an analysis across the whole county to look at which areas had high populations of young children but no playground. This is in the new Play Policy 2023-2028. In the map below, the green areas are where there are high numbers of small children and the pink circles show a 1km area around existing playgrounds. It’s very clear that there is a gap around the Kilcross/Simonsridge area.
The locations for new playgrounds were selected based on these objective criteria. The locations for new playgrounds weren’t chosen based on volume of requests from councillors or the public.
The Parks Dept also used a set of criteria to determine which existing playgrounds were most in need of repair. See below table from the new Play Policy, where the lower the score, the more the need to repair the existing playground. The playgrounds were not chosen based on volume of requests from councillors or the public.
Based on the scores given, upgrades for Leopardstown Heights and Ballyogan aren’t far behind.
The Play Policy is a good but imperfect plan to improve play facilities in our area and it definitely took too long to be finalised. That aside, I welcome it and look forward for these long overdue facilities being developed by the council following the public consultations.
How are the new and upgraded playgrounds funded?
New playgrounds and major upgrades of playgrounds are covered by the council’s capital budget. Only the council’s Chief Executive has the legal power to spend the council’s capital budget, which is for capital projects. Every year, councillors vote through the current budget which is for the ongoing operations of the council. I’m more than happy to clear this up, as there has been some misleading information circulating in the past around how spending on playgrounds is decided.
The money for our capital budget primarily comes from levies on new residential and commercial development in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown.
Public consultations on the new and upgaded playgrounds
We have been informed that the public consultations on the new and upgraded playgrounds will take place by the end of 2023. These will involve school visits, engagement with local community groups and online surveys advertised through physical signs locally. If you have any ideas for consultation, please do get in touch with me by email with your suggestions.
Other new and upgraded playgrounds in our area
Most larger residential developments these days have conditions attached to the planning permission requiring developers to build playgrounds. There will also be a new park and playground built as part of the Glenamuck Distributor Road, across the road from Wayside Celtic’s Jackson Park.