New Linear Park Development
Information for Parents:
Ashbourne Playspace Network (APN) is an advocacy group, made up of local parents who volunteer their time. Formed in 2012, APN has campaigned for improvements to Ashbourne’s playground and surrounds at Castle Street, and for the provision of additional public, outdoor recreational space for residents of all ages and abilities in our town. Since its formation, the group have taken a very active role in the community: clean-up and graffiti removal, planting bulbs, and painting fences at the playground; organisation of community events, such as the Summer Play Picnic and Community Information Evening; and strengthening our collective voice through social media and in meetings with local councillors and TDs. With persistent pressure from our Network, together with strong representation from our local councillors, our advocacy campaign has started to reap rewards. On April 13th, Meath County Council approved €1.1 million for the development of a Linear Park along the Broadmeadow River in Ashbourne. This commitment was originally made in 2003 but was never followed through on. APN are delighted that the lack of public recreational space is finally being acknowledged and the historical neglect of our town, in terms of funding, is starting to be redressed. The development of a Linear Park is a very welcome addition and will hopefully see the transformation of the river and adjoining land into a beautiful civic amenity which we should all be benefitting from.
We are hopeful that the Linear Park will go some way to meeting the needs of our community; we see this as another step along the road to realising a much larger Community Park for our town. On March 17th, APN launched our Community Park campaign; we distributed an information leaflet to all the school-age children in Ashbourne, from preschool to leaving cert, outlining our goals. We also launched a petition calling on Meath County Council to allocate funds for the procurement and development of a Community Park in Ashbourne. Our aim is to collect 4,000 signatures; this represents one third of the total population in Ashbourne and is symbolic of the 4,000+ households in our community. This petition is important for a number of reasons:
1) to call upon Meath CoCo to meet its responsibility to provide our town with appropriate and sufficient public outdoor recreational amenities;
2) to hold Meath CoCo to account for decisions made regarding the allocation of funding;
3) to communicate that we expect that the commitment of funding for the Linear Park will be followed through on (unlike in 2003); and
4) to state very clearly that we will continue to advocate for the needs of our residents/visitors and we demand ongoing investment in our town, namely the development of a large Community Park.
In order to reach our target of 4,000 signatures, we are seeking support from the educational, voluntary, and business sectors within the community. To this end, we are approaching each of the primary and secondary schools to invite the staff and students to partake. The children and young people of Ashbourne deserve to have their voices heard. It would send a very powerful message to our decision-makers if every one of the 2000+ school-age children added their name to the petition; We would be most grateful for your support. The members of APN are very optimistic that our campaign will reap many rewards for our community; in doing so, we also hope that the work of APN will demonstrate to the children andyoung people of Ashbourne the importance of getting involved in your community and being part of a positive solution to local issues.
Statement issued by Cllr Sean Smith:
“Meath County Council has approved funding of €1.1 million for the development of a Linear Park in Ashbourne. I am very happy with this funding as I have been working towards a new Public Park since prior to being elected to Meath County Council in May 2014. The funding from the Capital Fund will be provided over three years with €100,000 in 2015; €500,000 in 2016 and a further €500,000 in 2017. A Linear Park for Ashbourne was planned for in the Killegland West Ashbourne Action Area Plan in 2003, a report I became aware of in research of previous planning applications. As many developments had been built in Ashbourne in previous decades and a very evident shortage of Public Open Space, I explored many Planning approvals discovering objectives on Public Open Space which were missed. This alerted me to enquire into the substantial Development Levies and where these funds had been spent. This led me to Killegland West Ashbourne ActionArea Plan 2003 which formed the basis of the Ashbourne Municipal District proposal for funding. A subsequent report in January by Meath County Council on the ‘Provision for Open Space’ built also a strong foundation. The Linear Park along the Broadmeadow River can be a beautiful amenity in our community. The Linear Park currently runs from the back of Deer Park to the GAA roundabout. This new funding will provide for this park to be extended and for the provision of a larger Community Park. A large Community Park is an ultimate goal for the community. I will continue to work towards the delivery of the Linear Park and a large Community Park for Ashbourne. The next steps will be to engage with Meath County Council with Community groups such as Ashbourne Playspace Network to plan these amenities. There will be many steps along this journey and today a big step has been achieved”.