Cairn, lack of Social Facilities

Over 1,000 houses are currently being built in Greystones, mostly by Cairn. I am concerned that the specified Social facilities are not being provided or are substandard. These include Community Centres, Enterprise Centres, sports pitches, parks. As Cathaoirleach of the Municipal District I asked the Chief Executive of Wicklow County Council for details a month ago but cant get a reply so have sent a second request for information (below). Its not good enough that no one will control what Cairn are doing.

Dear Frank,

I wrote to you 1 month ago about this significant problem but have had no response. I am thus writing this reminder and copying in the note. 

Councillor Derek Mitchell (FG),Cathaoirleach, Greystones Municipal District, MemberWicklow County Council,

C/o Kiltoorish, Manor Avenue, Greystones, Co. Wicklow.

Phone/Fax 01-2874115(H), 087-2574969, 7th April  2021. 

Frank Curran,

Chief Executive,

Wicklow County Council. (cc Michael Nicholson)

Dear Frank,

A great deal of the Social Infrastructure of Greystones is to be provided by Cairn as part of planning permission, following zoning specifications, for the 1200 houses they have/are building. I am concerned that this will be useful and in accordance with reasonable specifications. I don’t know what control the Council has over the specifications. Even with the harbour scheme, where the Council had considerable control of the park specifications, it is difficult to get what is wanted or for people to accept what is wanted.

Cairn has given a presentation about this to management.

1.     Blacklion. Currently the SHD is being discussed but not public yet. It is to include a Park, MUGA Community facilities, access road. The school view of this follows and I attach to a following email a copy of the larger pitch diagram from earlier (4G 115*75m),

The pitch that is indicated on that (the recent) drawing is a very much diminished version of the pitch that they had originally indicated would be provided in discussions with the School. It is hardly even a kick about pitch – you would not even be able to hold U 12s training on it I am advised. The original pitch that they indicated can be seen on the attached photo of an earlier plan that they showed us – it was a full sized pitch that could be used for soccer, GAA and rugby. But for some reason they decided to scale back their plan considerably – you can see the difference on the length and width of the pitch between the 2 drawings. There is also no mention of what surface will be on the pitch, will it be lit,etc. Basically they are providing the very bare minimum required for an Active Open Space designation.

It is really frustrating and hard to know what we can do to get them to live up to their original proposals. We have just agreed with the Department of Education to increase our intake to 1000 students to help meet local demand and will need access to every bit of playing surface we can get during the school day. This pitch would make a real difference to us and will also represent a real resource to the area for afterschool use by clubs and teams. Unless the Council also puts pressure on Cairn in relation to their plans for that AOS site they will only do the bare minimum as they are proposing. Regrettably our engagement with them has left us with a very poor view of Cairns willingness and ability to live up to their word!

It is essential that the pitch is a large enough size to play sport. One wonders about the adequacy of the required provision of the Park, Community Centre and access road. I also wonder who is paying.

2.     Farrenkelly/Archers Wood SHD with planning permission. The presentation shows the site plan but I can’t read it or expand it. Superficially it looks attractive. A local Ecologist says they are doing it according to his plan but we don’t know that. I would like some presentation of this and an assessment by someone who understands parks. Also the arrangements for sports pitches/changing rooms. They may put a road & maybe footpath south to Eden gate roundabout with development levy funding. I think a path north to Delgany village is also needed but seems not to be there. WCC should get them to build it as the verge may be wide enough so it should be cheap.

3.     Glenherron C. School site, Community Enterprise Centre & private one, bus lay by. I am interested in the design of the CEC, what is being used as a template/example. We zoned this 16 years ago when the Manager said we had a legal agreement with landowner to provide CEC. Previously the entire site was zoned Commercial so zoning it for Glenherron C & B was worth plenty for the landowner. Subsequently we were told the agreement was never valid. How is it being paid for and when is it expected?

4.     Glenherron B. Disappointing to find all houses built but Community Centre & crèche not started. I would think these are all loss leaders yet the other developers build them as required.

This is a once off opportunity to get very useful facilities, which were mostly planned a long time ago when it was zoned, in return for this rapid growth. I am concerned that WCC is not ensuring the specifications will make the facilities useful. Especially if WCC is going to have to pay for them, through the development levies or another way, which was not the original idea.


Derek Mitchell

Councillor Derek Mitchell, member of Wicklow County Council FG.

“Turning Vision into Reality”


Manor Avenue,


Co. Wicklow

Ph: 01 287 4115

Mob: 0872574969 Derek

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