ALL six county councillors representing the town of Ashbourne have joined forces in an effort to persuade Meath County Council to purchase land in the town for a new greenfield public park.
In a first for Ashbourne, the six councillors have co-sponsored a motion to the next meeting of the local council in Ashbourne reaffirming their commitment to make every effort to help deliver a new community park on a greenfield site and urging Meath County Council to apply all of the necessary resources to identify and secure a suitable site for development.
O'Rourke said “This is a very welcome development. I am very happy to co-sponsor this motion and even more happy that all of my colleagues have agreed to do the same.
“Unity on this issue is essential. Our role as public representatives is to lobby, advocate and persuade on issues of importance to our communities. For me, along with the issue of housing, there is no more important issue than the provision of a large public park for the town of Ashbourne. We have seen some movement on the proposed Linear Park, but that project is tediously slow because of the multitude of landowners and ultimately, in the end, it will not adequately serve the needs of Ashbourne.
“Ashbourne has been failed in terms of bad planning for years. Badly failed.
House after house after house was built without the provision of essential community green space and infrastructure
“This motion is an important first step in driving forward an important issue. It will need the full support not only of local councillors but also of local sporting and community groups if we are to put our best foot forward and make the strongest possible case.”
While some progress has been made on the part eight application for the proposed playground which will be built on a council owned portion of the lands. Cllr O'Rourke said the linear park is a “complex project” involving a number of different landowners. There are also concerns from residents over a number of pinch points along the park. He said the council is in negotiations with the third parties but it is slow and protracted.
“We hope to see the negotiations come to fruition in the medium term. But even if they do, the linear park won't be the answer to the shortage of public open space in Ashbourne.
It wont serve the community at large. We still have a number of community and sporting groups without a base.
“It has always been the ambition of the councillors to achieve a large greenfield public park. While significant efforts are being made for the linear park, we are shifting the focus to the provision of a new public park.”
While councillors may be united in the need for a public park, Cllr O'Rourke said they want a commitment from the council executive that they are on the same page as the councillors and pointed out that the council holds the purse strings. The motion will be discussed at next Monday's Ashbourne MD meeting.