Plan for Malahide Demesne forest adventure centre axed
Fingal County Council decides not to proceed after High Court challenge by local resident
A plan for tree-top zip lines at Malahide Demesne (above) attracted significant criticism from opposed councillors and local campaigners, who claimed the project would necessitate the removal of a large number of trees and that it might disturb wildlife. File photograph: Google Street View
At its monthly meeting in July, councillors approved plans to construct a forest adventure centre at a five-hectare site near Malahide Castle by a narrow margin of 18 votes to 16.
The idea attracted significant criticism from opposed councillors and local campaigners, who claimed the project would necessitate the removal of a large number of trees and that it might disturb wildlife.
Malahide resident Noel Mahon had been given leave by the High Court to take a challenge against the proposed adventure centre, but in a statement released on Monday Fingal County Council said it will not pursue the idea any further.
The decision was taken “following an assessment of the implications of a legal challenge that has been initiated”, it said, citing the length of time and potential costs involved in defending the development.
The local authority said it will now assess alternative locations across north Co Dublin which may be suitable for a similar adventure centre.
Activists had been engaged in a campaign against the plans over recent months, gathering more than 3,000 signatures on petitions opposing the adventure centre and hosting gatherings of concerned locals within the park.
Responding to the council’s decision, Green Party councillor David Healy said it had been taught a “valuable lesson” about the planning process.
“I welcome the decision not to fight this court case. The basis of the challenge was that the planning law wasn’t fully complied with. Adequate information about the proposal was not made available to the public.
“I believe the council has learned a valuable lesson that it must provide full information and ensure meaningful public participation,” he said.
Plans for the centre were due to include provision for extra parking spaces as part of a reinforced grass area, which has also been shelved.
The council said it will now carry out a review of car parking arrangements in Malahide, which has suffered from congestion problems in recent years, with a view to creating additional spaces.