The following observations have been made by Skerries Community Association on the recent planning application made by Skerries Rowing Club for the erection of a club house at Skerries Harbour.
RE: Application F20A/0558 Skerries Rowing Club
Planning Department, Fingal County Council
Skerries Community Association welcomes the opportunity to make observations on Planning Application F20A/0558 from Skerries Rowing Club.
The Association’s purpose is to develop and improve generally the town and its neighbourhood for the benefit of the people of Skerries and to increase its attractiveness for residents and visitors to Skerries. Having sustainable water based activities which enhance the cultural and economic life of the area is to be encouraged. Such activities entail having adequate land based ancillary facilities.
However, with regard to the planning application from Skerries Rowing Club the Association notes that the proposal would entail a valuable, substantial and uniquely positioned piece of public open space in the harbour area passing from public amenity space, into the de facto possession of a small private group for their exclusive use.
The site being proposed for this development is located directly by the sea in the busy harbour area of the town. As Skerries grows in population and people seek to enjoy the amenity value of walking and socialising in this coastal town there is growing pressure for more open space, not less.
The Association supports the enhancement of watersports amenities in Skerries as these bring a valuable dimension to the town. However, given the broad community demand for such facilities (scouting, kayaking, sailing, rowing, swimming, motor-boating, etc) as well as the constrained space available in the protected harbour area, the Association feels that the allocation of Council land for this purpose should follow broader consultation on a more integrated plan to deliver the capacity to store and safely launch sports boats as well as to deliver shore-side facilities to benefit the maximum number of water uses in the community, while minimising impacts on land-based recreational use of the harbour area. The association feels that the proposal has fallen short in this respect.
The Association notes too, that the only building that currently stands on the seaward side of the road (from the harbour pier around to the Red Island carpark) is one used by people who risk their lives to rescue those in distress at sea. It is entirely appropriate that this RNLI building continue to be located directly beside the Sea Pole Memorial dedicated to those who lost their lives at sea. The insertion of a large building between the two would be a physical barrier undermining the powerful and poignant relationship that exists between the two structures.
In conclusion the Association is strongly of the view that the current proposed development on this site would be an infringement of the general public’s access to and enjoyment of the area and would take from the unique spatial relationship between two of Skerries iconic structures. Neither would it do anything to meet the needs of other water based activity groups.
Skerries Community Association
08 December 2020