herald

Saturday 10 December 2016

Eldery residents fear impact of new playground

Ranelagh residents
Ranelagh residents

Residents in a south Dublin senior citizens' complex are objecting to the development of a children's playground beside their home, which they fear could impact on their health.

A group of people living in Ranelagh Close, adjacent to the Ranelagh Gardens city park, are objecting to the city council's plans for the playground, which is just meters from some of their homes.

Dublin City Council has plans in train to significantly upgrade the park, which is best known for being the location of the first hot air balloon flight in Ireland.

The plans include a small playground, an outdoor gym and a bird garden. There will also be additional seating and signage. Improvements are also due to be made to the Ranelagh Road entrance.

However, residents - many of whom have health problems - fear the playground will be noisy during the day and that the gym could potentially attract anti-social behaviour in the evenings.

In July, local councillors decided to progress to the next stage of the planning process for the upgrades, with a provision for the operation of the playground to be reviewed after six months.

Christy Grace (78) who is one of the 18 residents living in the development, said that the group will "fight to the very end" to ensure the playground is not installed.

"The council should have considered the health and welfare of the people living in this complex before they made plans for these upgrades.

"It's very unfair of them. There is a site beside the Mount Pleasant Tennis courts near here that would be perfect for a playground and a gym," Mr Grace added.

Local parents have long lobbied for upgrades to the park and for play facilities to be included, but Mr Grace said that there are already facilities nearby for families to use.

"We strongly object to these elements, but we have no problem with the other upgrades planned," he said.

Local councillor Chris Andrews has been working with residents on the issue. The Sinn Fein representative has called for careful consideration before work begins.

Investment

"My view is that a playground is a big investment and all the more important that DCC get the siting right as it will be there for a long time," Mr Andrews said.

"Residents have concerns and at this stage in their lives it is not unreasonable to consider these concerns, which are understandable given their age and health.

"The council should at least review the positioning of the playground and make sure they get it right and take into consideration residents' views," he added.

Dublin City Council did not respond to a request for comment when asked by the Herald.

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