Shankill residents fear 1,000 trees will be lost to BusConnects

Residents question how carefully NTA examined impact of route on area

Volunteers are tying ribbons around the trees that are going to be cut down for BusConnects core bus corridors. Photograph: Tom Honan

Volunteers are tying ribbons around the trees that are going to be cut down for BusConnects core bus corridors. Photograph: Tom Honan

 

Up to 1,000 trees in Shankill, Co Dublin could be felled to accommodate a BusConnects route, residents have claimed. This is almost 10 times the number of trees the National Transport Authority (NTA) estimates will be lost as a result of the plan.

The NTA has identified 330 trees which may need to be removed along a 13km stretch to facilitate road widening for the core bus corridor route from the city centre to Bray. Almost half of these trees, about 150, are in the Shankill area, the NTA has said.

However, locals say the NTA calculations do not include trees in front gardens that have been identified for potential acquisition, as well as many on roadsides.

“The NTA says that a minimum of 330 trees will be lost on the entire route 13 but in Shankill alone it is estimated that up to 1,000 trees will be lost – many large landmark trees,” said Rob Cumiskey of the Save Shankill Village campaign group.

“The tidy towns committee, local councillors and very detail-orientated people from our group have walked the route in question and physically identified these trees, whereas it appears the NTA conducted a desk-top exercise.”

Inaccurate maps

Apart from the trees, there were several details about Shankill village that were inaccurately recorded on the maps issued by the NTA as part of the BusConnects project, he said.

“There are basic errors which indicate they were using an out-of-date Google map: the new Lidl is not included; there is no right-hand turn between the shopping centre and the church, they don’t include that. They missed an awful lot of detail.”

More than 2,600 Shankill residents have signed a petition to protest the proposals which also include the removal of parking spaces in the village.

John Brady, of Shankill Traders Association and owner of Brady’s pub in Shankill village, said the plans would be “catastrophic” for businesses.

“If the plans go ahead, you are looking at the core village shops facing straight out onto a dangerous bus corridor. These businesses are crucial to the Shankill community and would be a huge loss for the area with the inevitable closures and job losses that would follow.”

A spokeswoman for the NTA said the current proposals were “concept designs” and more detailed designs would be developed and then published for a second round of public consultation.

“We met with a group from Shankill yesterday evening [Wednesday] and we have committed to meeting with them again later in the summer as we develop the concept designs,” she said.