Tribute was paid to the residents and homeowners of Willow Park by councillors this week, amid discussion on the progress of plans to regenerate the area.
In response to a motion from Cllr Paul Hogan that the council establish a regeneration plan for Willow Park and the surrounding areas, councillors were told that work is ongoing on a plan for Willow Park and that the area is “going in the right direction”.
However, a “multi-agency” approach - involving residents, landlords, tenants, community workers, and Gardaí - as opposed to a traditional regeneration approach is being favoured by the council to address local issues, given the fact that the vast majority of houses are privately owned.
“Willow Park is continuing to receive attention and substantial money in our annual budgets,” said director of services Barry Kehoe. “We have been working behind the scenes to put together a plan with stakeholders in the area, which has improved substantially. It is a credit to the people living there and particularly the landlords.”
When pushed by Cllr Hogan to say whether an official ‘local area plan’ could be prepared, and how soon a plan would be complete, Mr Kehoe said it was important “not to get hung up on the title of the plan”.
“A basic plan is needed to address issues in the area, and work is ongoing on this. We hope to be before you with a plan as soon as possible,” he said.
Councillors united in paying tribute to the work undertaken to date by residents, landlords, and other stakeholders in the Willow Park area.
“Willow Park looks very well. Landlords and residents have done a series of clean-ups, and have set out a strategy to fix trees and tidy up, which they have presented to the council,” commented Cllr Sheila Buckley-Byrne.
“Regeneration is currently happening through the people themselves and the landlords, who are working with the local student population. They deserve credit and the council have supported them very well through the presence of a steering committee, community worker, and Gardai,” she added.