Workshop on Bray Area Local Plan
CLLR Joe Behan called for a suspension of standing orders at the Bray Municipal District Meeting last Tuesday to discuss the forthcoming decision on the Bray Local Area Plan.
The matter is due for discussion at Wicklow County Council on December 4.
‘We only got a copy this morning,’ said Cllr Behan. ‘We were told in the email we had six weeks to consider it, and also told there was a meeting to discuss it in four weeks time. I submit that we need the six weeks we are supposed to have.’
He said that a lot of people were involved in the process and made submissions.
‘ They are entitled to our respect and consideration,’ he said.
Cllr Behan proposed that the matter be discussed at the January meeting of Wicklow County Council.
Cllr Steven Matthews wondered if there would be problems if they run into eight weeks.
District Manager Des O’Brien said that the law is, if it’s not considered within six weeks the Chief Execuitive would be entitled to make the decision himself. However, he said that the aim was to work together and make the plan collaborative.
‘We aren’t going to railroad you into something you don’t want,’ he said.
Mr O’Brien said that there were a huge number of submissions and suggested discussing them at workship meetings. A near-drowning was the reason behind this year’s delay in giving the lifeguard hut over to a sea swimming group.
District Engineer Liam Bourke said that the council has provided the lifeguard hut for the past two years at the northern end of the beach.
He said that late last summer there was an incident where someone nearly drowned.
‘Our water safety officer advised that signs go up forbidding swimming at that end of the beach,’ he said. The council asked Irish Water Safety to assess the beach.
‘We thought we would have a report at this stage but the only report was for the blue flag section and not that part of the beach,’ said Mr Bourke. ‘We can’t facilitate swimming there until we can know where we can safely put the hut and what markings we need to put in place. We should have had a
Cllr Pat Vance said that there are a huge amount of submissions, but not a huge amount of issues.
‘ There are over 2,000 submissions on one particular item,’ he siad.
Cllr Behan said that workshops are great for thrashing out issues, but not for public accountability. He wondered if it would be better to have them as part of a district meeting.
Mr O’Brien said that the workshops were agreed in an SPC eight years ago in an effort to give members more input at an earlier stage. ‘Members got in at the basement to influence plans, that was the idea of it.’
Members agreed to hold a workshop later this month. report by now but we just don’t have it. The hut will be provided, but it’s a question of where.’
Group members swim on Bray seafront every morning and use the hut for changing during the winter months.
Audrey Collins outside the hut, which was used by local swimmers for changing their clothes, in January of this year.