A disagreement over CCTV almost became a sticking point for the adoption of the Draft Improvement Plan for the Willow Park and Meadowbrook estates at this week’s town council meeting.
However, a compromise ensured that, while it is unlikely to be provided in the near future, the introduction of CCTV for the area will remain an “aspiration” and will be included in the plan.
Director of services, Barry Kehoe, said the provision of CCTV is outside of the council’s remit, and that it would be too expensive, after it became clear from several submissions from residents and local interest groups that there is strong support for its introduction.
While Cllrs Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, Alan Shaw, and Sheila Buckley-Byrne advocated that CCTV be further investigated and a request made to the Department of Justice who provided the recently installed town system, mayor Mark Cooney felt the issue should not hold back the adoption of the plan.
“I don’t disagree with the proposal to contact the Department of Justice, but I can anticipate that it is highly unlikely they will revisit the question of additional CCTV. I want to adopt the plan. On the other hand the residents accept that CCTV acts as a deterrent, and there is concern that the money invested could be wasted if facilities are vandalised. I feel we should leave it in the plan as an aspiration, and if it doesn’t come to pass, so be it,” said Cllr Cooney.
While Mr Kehoe agreed that a request for CCTV would be unlikely to be fruitful, he said the council would liaise fully with Gardai on a security plan for the area.
“I am comfortable with including the objective to have CCTV in Willow Park in time. I would like to get on with that objective over time, and in the meantime get on with all the other works. I wouldn’t see it as something to hold back money for,” he said.
“Willow Park and Meadowbrook have been subject to urban decay and it is in the interest of the community to turn it around. I would consider the adoption of the improvement plan is an important step.”
Other submissions on the plan expressed strong support for the movement of the multi-use games area to a green area at Norwood Court, beside the proposed playground, and the plan is to be altered to reflect this.
The local residents’ association also suggested that the planned tree-planting be carried out on a phased basis, while other residents expressed concern that the proposed playground and games area would be vandalised.