Neighbourhood Amenity should be a top priority in the redevelopment of the Magee Barracks site

I’m calling on the Department of Defence, Kildare County Council and elected South Kildare representatives to clarify the state’s intention with regards to the sale of the Magee Barracks site in Kildare Town.

While I am delighted that Magee Barracks is finally going to auction in November of this year, I would like clarity around the part of the site promised to the community. Parts of the land are intended for recreational, amenity and community use not just for that locality but for the whole town.

Given the extreme delay in selling the land, the portion of land that was to be used for community, amenity or recreational purposes should have been gifted long ago. It is not too late however for the community, recreational and amenity uses intended for the site to be implemented prior to any development taking place. The new owner, whoever that may be, should be asked to commit to providing the ten acres for community facilities, including open spaces.

Kildare Town Local Area Plan provided for the development of Kildare up to 2018. Included in this plan, was the design brief/ plan for the Magee Barracks site which was predicated on the 2005 Magee Barracks LAP Plan.

This plan essentially provides for ten acres (excluding the current primary school) to be used for community, recreational and amenity purposes. I’m calling on the Department of Defence and Kildare County Council to ensure that the community facilities be a cornerstone of such a plan. The Neighbourhood Park element which is supposed to compose much of the recreational, community and amenity provision should be a top priority in the redevelopment of the Magee Barracks site.

In addition, within the barracks buildings only the former Officers Mess, which has its front entrance facing away from the barracks square, is a protected structure. KCC’s executive librarian Mario Corrigan recently queried why the “main splayed entrance gates and railings are also listed for protection in the County Development Plan but somehow have now been delisted.” He has also asked if “the gates could be taken down and brought to the Curragh or better still incorporated into the surrounds for Educate Together or the Gaelscoil?”

Therefore, I’m seeking clarity on the above, along with three additional elements of this plan from the Dept of Defence and elected representatives;

• Is the Community, Amenity and Recreational provision to be gifted to the community as part of this plan or is to be part of development of that site?

• Is the Council going to stringently enforce its LAP with regards to the provision of community spaces?

• Will the Department/ and or the Council seek provision of infrastructure first before any development takes places?

The answers are extremely important for the future development of Kildare Town.