Finglas West and South Local issues and Parks

Estate Management Matters:

Anti-Social Behaviour Plan:

The City Council is currently preparing an Anti-Social Behaviour Plan in accordance with the Housing Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2009. The draft Plan will be presented to the Housing Strategic Policy Committee in the 1st instance. Further details to follow.

Ardmore Hotel/Fairlawn:

The fencing at the rear of Fairlawn Park and the Ardmore Hotel has been removed. The graffiti along the back boundary walls of houses along Fairlawn Road and Fairlawn Park has been removed. We are exploring the feasibility of restoring to the waste ground at the rear of 75 to 85 Fairlawn Park facing out onto Tolka Valley Road including the possibility of using the area for an allotment project. identified

Throughout 2009 the Anti-Social Unit received 137 complaints and conducted 77 interviews. During the year, we had two evictions, one for serious
anti-social behaviour. Initially after this eviction there was a significant upsurge in anti-social behaviour affecting neighbouring residents. This has since subsided. Another warrant was granted with no stay due to tenant’s involvement in drug dealing in the Finglas area. This has since been appealed and we are waiting for a date for appeal hearing. A warrant was granted for a tenancy in the Berryfield area with a two-month stay. This eviction is scheduled to take place once the stay runs out on the 11th April. We are in discussions with local Gardai with regard to this eviction. The HSE have also been notified.

Berryfield:

The two small play areas in Berryfield, that residents originally  requested, will have to be removed due to ongoing damage and anti-social
behaviour. We are trying to identify some source of funding to do something with these areas.

Virginia Park:

There has been serious anti-social behaviour in this estate in recent months. There have been cars burnt out in people’s driveways, stolen cars rammed into walls and railings around open spaces. Two residents with shared ownership loans are in the process of surrendering their properties back to the City Council and in both cases they have left the houses.

Youths are drawn to the Virginia area because of an open space that links Virginia Estate with Rathvilly Estate. This open space is another area where serious dumping and anti-social behaviour occurs.

The city council had a proposal to construct 14 houses affordable houses on the site. We are ready to take the project to Part 8, but because of the current financial climate, are not in a position to construct the houses. There is considerable pressure on local residents, area staff, gardaí and public representatives to come up with a solution to this problem. We are currently compiling a report on vacant sites in the Finglas area for the Housing and Residential Services Department with a view to making a specific funding application to the DoEHLG under the Social Housing Investment Programme to construct once off social housing properties on some of these very difficult to manage open spaces remaining in Finglas South. A number of meetings have taken place with local residents attended by area staff and Gardaí. A private rented tenancy has been reported to the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) but they have informed us they have no remit to deal with the local authority on this issue. We have subsequently contacted the landlord and the HSE ourselves, however this matter might be taken on board by the JPC to lobby for a mechanism for the PRTB to handle such complaints as private rented tenancies are presenting difficulties in a number of locations throughout the area.

Charlie’s Lane:

Ongoing vandalism, dumping and drinking is taking place in the lane. The City Council is no longer in a position to keep restoring power to the
public lighting and cleaning up the lane. This matter has been discussed many times with no solution emerging. We are examining the necessity to
close this lane for health and safety reasons due to on going anti social activity.

Void Properties:

There are 32 houses and 11 Senior Citizens units void in the Finglas Area and 17 properties in Ballymun pending repair and return to housing stock. The voids are contributing very negatively overall to the general appearance and upkeep of the area being a magnet for anti-social behaviour and dumping of refuse, predominantly domestic refuse not collected due to arrears on household accounts aside from the fact that are housing lists have increased. Brian Byrne, Area Housing Manager, Finglas is representing the area on a working group set up to examine possible methods and solutions to the difficulty presented by voids. We are also putting together details of a number of small sites in Finglas in our ownership with a view to making an application to the DoEHLG for funding for once off social housing on these sites. Donal Barron, Housing Manager in Ballymun has agreed a schedule and some funding for dealing with void property in Ballymun, as these properties are required for detenanting of flats.

Rapid Boundaries:

The Finglas RAPID Area Implementation Team recently accepted proposed changes to the Finglas RAPID area boundary. The changes will see Finglas
South and the Ballygall areas included in the RAPID programme. As this is a multi-agency project, the inclusion of Finglas South into the Rapid Area would be very welcome.

Parks:

Tolka Valley Park:

There have been a number of attempts over the years to bring together residents, Dublin City Council staff and the Gardaí to discuss issues relating to Tolka Valley Park. As a result, initiatives were undertaken such as enclosing the park with railings to limit access for vehicles and horses, regular policing patrols and special operations to combat drinking and use of quad bikes. Tolka Valley Park is identified for the development of a linear regional park up as far as the boundary with Fingal County Council at Ashtown. However the timescale for proceeding with the development has had to been lengthened due to lack of sufficient funding to progress.

In the interim, Parks and Landscape Services Division will construct a new boundary railing in 2010 along the River Road. This should control the movements of horses and vehicles and limit damage to this part of the park. Some small improvements to staff welfare facilities and emergency exits at
Tolka Valley Park depot will also be carried out in 2010 as a result of a safety audit. However, significant investment is needed in the long-term as it is envisaged that the parkland become a significant regional park for the benefit of the North West Area and the City in general.

Following discussion at the last North West Joint Policing Sub Committee, area staff and the Senior Executive Parks Superintendent met to explore  ways and potential funding opportunities in the hope of being able to introduce improvements to the Tolka Valley. The Garda Chief Superintendent has also committed to becoming involved. This sub-group will be expanded to include the local parks rangers and the parks warden service. After some initial meetings to establish realistic options available, we will then seek to include local residents for their input and thus establish a Steering Group with the team members bringing their various expertise to the table to improve the use of the park as a local amenity. Hopefully this steering group can form the basis of a Park Safety Team into the future.

Community Garden, Finglas South

North West Area staff are supporting the development of a community garden  in Finglas South. The idea originated from participants attending  gardening classes at St. Helena’s Family Resource Centre and St. Helena’s Family Resource Centre has kindly identified an area of land in their rounds to develop this initiative. The number of interested participants has expanded to include other residents from the community and a small informal group has formed.

Dublin City Council has supported the initiative to date by providing materials and equipment and has also arranged for the Parks and Landscaping
Services Division to lend their expertise to the project. The Finglas group has been put in touch with some established community garden projects
in the City area so that they may obtain useful advice in order to advance their Finglas project.