Johnstown Wood residents angry at playground location

Story by Ann Casey

Wednesday, 6th March, 2019 10:54am

Johnstown Wood residents angry at playground location

As plans for the new playground at Johnstown, Navan go on public display, residents living close to the proposed location have voiced their anger at the proposals.

While the need for a playground in Johnstown had been one of the major issues raised by residents over the years, residents of the Johnstown Wood area says while they agreed a playground is needed, the current location is unsuitable.
"The proposed location in Johnstown Wood is going to be a complete disaster. This area is already troubled by traffic congestion, anti-social behaviour and involves destroying a housing estate's green," says Johnstown Wood resident Daniel Tarpey, who is just one of a large number of residents,  objecting to the proposed location.
Many of the residents suggest that land adjacent to Buvinda House in the IDA Business Park would be an ideal location for the playground. Previous attempts to provide a playground in the Johnstown People's Park was stymied by local objections.
Mr Tarpey says that as a parent and resident he welcomed investment into Johnstown, however he is objecting to the location.
The residents of Johnstown Wood came together last week to start a campaign against the proposed location.
"We all feel that proper long term investment is needed in terms of a community centre and other amenities.
"We are not objecting to the addition of a playground, but we will not stand by and allow Meath County Council to take away our green area. We firmly believe a playground belongs in a park.
"On top of this, plans have been released without any consultation with the residents of Johnstown Wood," he says.
Another meeting will be held in Taylor's Pub tomorrow night (Wednesday) to which local councillors will be invited.
Denis Shannon, who lives beside the proposed location is a former parks’ superintendent in Dublin, who is now retired.
"In my experience playgrounds in housing estates always become a magnet for teenagers after dark, with the associated anti-social behavior, noise and drug taking.
"This is the third time the people of this area have had additional traffic imposed on them. The first was the opening of the Colaiste, then the Dunville development and now this.
"The proposed playground is right beside my house and I will be objecting."
Imelda Gamell who lives in Beech Drive said she is very concerned about safety and traffic, as well as anti-social behavior and the maintenance of the playground.
"It will be fantastic to have a playground, but the location just seems to be an easy get out card for the council.
"It is also taking away out green area. My kids are older and they will be taking away the green area where my son plays football.
"We will suffer as a community," she says.
Con Walsh who lives in Johnstown Wood says the estate is one of the older ones in Johnstown and there isn't need for a playground there. He says it will destroy a green area and the car park attached to it is likely to be used by commuters.
Cllr Sinead Burke who has been  campaigning for a playground for Johnstown for many years says:"In last year's needs analysis survey, a playground was the number one issue for the people in Johnstown."
"A couple of years ago, we come close to getting a playground in Johnstown People's Park. This didn't get over the line because of the way the Management Company is set up, any development on that land must be 100 per cent agreed by all the shareholders and at that point it wasn’t possible to get the full agreement of the houses involved.
"The households at that stage were totally within their rights to object to the playground in the park, and similarly the people in Johnstown Wood are also completely within their rights to object if they wish.
"This plan for a playground will follow all planning procedures once it goes on public display within the next week.
"A time window is open for everyone to make a submission either for or against it.
"A residents survey has been completed which has given the council a to do list in the area. Wherever the playground goes is dependent on submissions sent in to the planning department.
"Personally speaking, it doesn't bother me where the playground goes, I don't live in Johnstown but I have heard the call for community facilities in the area and I am determined to deliver it.
"The actual location needs to be worked out between the residents and planning . It’s crucial that anyone with an opinion plays a part in the process".