Newbridge estate anger over hedgerow plans

Community

Niamh O'Donoghue

Reporter:

Niamh O'Donoghue

Email:

naimh.odonoghue@leinsterleader.ie

Newbridge estate anger over hedgerow plans

School Principal Brian O'Reilly says the schools doors are always open

Residents of a Newbridge estate are concerned about plans to eradicate a hedgerow as part of the construction of a neighbouring primary school extension.

“Residents in the Elms welcome the decision by Scoil Mhuire, Ballymany, Newbridge not to proceed with their plans to access the site of proposed development at the school from the Elms Estate, and to route site traffic through the adjoining Oaks and Elms estates,” they said in a statement.

They said the construction traffic plans, which provoked such a strong reaction from local residents, had initially been confirmed by both the project designer and the school principal some months ago.

They said the original developer of the estate had also been approached about the removal of the hedgerow, boundary change and allowing vehicular access through to the school site.

“We were shocked by the lack of consultation over plans that would clearly impact greatly on us and particularly when residents were assured by the school at a meeting last year that the hedgerow and trees would remain untouched and that the development would not impact on our estates at all,” they said.

“We immediately sought a meeting with the Board of Management of both schools to discuss our concerns and we were shocked to be told by the school Principal that they were ‘too busy’ to meet us.”

After a consultation process with residents of the Oaks and Elms Estates, they said they learned through an article in the Leinster Leader of the school’s response.

They describe the hedgerow as a wonderful urban habitat and Eco system teeming with birds and wildlife.

They also believe this action contravenes objectives on Biodiversity, Flora and Fauna in the County Development Plan. They said they couldn’t understand the lack of details in the planning file regarding the boundary removal/movement, restoration of the area, and the absence of an environmental impact report.

The residents are worried the boundary change may affect the taking in charge of the estate.

“We again wish to state our support for Scoil Mhuire and the continued development of the school. However we believe that a number of viable alternatives exist in relation to the treatment of our boundary with the school and we remain hopeful that sufficient goodwill remains to allow these to be explored,” they concluded.

The principals of the junior and senior schools declined to comment.

However, Principal Brian O’Reilly previously said there is, and never was any question of access being opened into the new special needs unit from the Elms during, or after, construction.

He said people who have contacted the school had all been responded to and the doors are always open to residents of The Elms, The Oaks, or any neighbour.

“We have created a subcommittee within the Board of Management's to discuss all the other issues which have been raised. A meeting will be arranged then,” he said in his statement earlier this month.