Over 5,000 homes have been built in Johnstown but community facilities have been slow to follow.

Long-sought community facilities edge closer for Johnstown

After more than 20 years of campaigning, community facilities are to be provided in the Johnstown area.

Consultants have been appointed to design facilities on 4.11 acres of land close to the Dunville estate, which has recently been transferred by developers to Meath County Council.

A recent meeting of Navan Municipal Council heard that 30.3 hectares of land in that area had been zoned for community use, which included the provision of schools.

The 4.11 acres now transferred to Meath County Council can be used for a community building, playground and walkways.

Meath County Council carried out consultations in the area this year with 74 per cent of respondents indicating a need for playgrounds facilities, 70 per cent wanted all-weather or other pitches and 58 per cent a community building.

Fiona Fallon told the meeting that other options such as seating and outdoor gym equipment would also be considered. Foster and Associates Architects had been appointed to design the facilities.

Cllr Tommy Reilly pointed out that over 5,000 houses had been built in Johnstown and there was a great need for a community hub and pitches.

"It is with great pride that I see this long awaited facility for the Johnstown area finally coming to fruition. I have been working on this for the last 20 years, with help initially from the late Eamonn Cleary. The vision Eamonn had for the future of Johnstown and the proposed facilities was superb," Cllr Reilly said.

"The advantages of these facilities to both Colaiste Na Mi Secondary School and St Stephen’s primary school, who house more than 2,000 pupils, together with facilities for both old and young, playgrounds, boxing club, soccer and GAA pitches, meeting rooms where senior citizens and many other groups can gather, will be tremendous.

"In addition to this work, we have the ongoing extension to Colaiste Na Mi and the ongoing construction of St Mary’s Special School, which has always been dear to my heart and I call on all residents to work together on these projects to ensure completion in a timely fashion."

The Mayor, Cllr Eddie Fennessy said it was great news for the families that built a vibrant community in Johnstown over the past 25 years.

"They've been starved of community infrastructure for too long. This project will have a huge benefit on the social fabric of that area and will be put to good use for generations to come. It can't be delivered quick enough.

"In terms of managing the facility, I urge the council to work with local sporting/community groups to find an anchor tenant."

Cllr Emer Toibin said that after 21 years, they were still talking about plans and asked why it had taken so long to get the land in question transferred to the council. "There are a lot of people in Johnstown not happy with the state of play," she said.

Cllr Alan Lawes said it was now time to look forward. "It is good that work will start in 2023," he said.

Cllr Yemi Adenuga said it was a long awaited piece of good news for Johnstown.

Cllr Padraig Fitzsimons said he was looking forward to work commencing and hoped it "would be as good a community facility as any."