Confusion over the future of the proposed playground

Story by Olga Aughey

Tuesday, 14th July, 2009 10:00am

There seemed to be much concern and confusion over a proposed playground at Rochfortbridge.

It was sanctioned last year, as to whether or not there was funding allotted for the project to go ahead at last week"s Kilbeggan Area Meeting.

In a question raised by Cllr. Ger Corcoran, he asked what the current situation was regarding a suitable site for a children"s playground in the village.

A site adjacent to Beggars Bridge in the Rochfortbridge had already been selected by members of the Rochfortbridge Development Group, Rochfortbridge Tidy Towns and Gardaí, as the only suitable site in the village. But in a written reply from Westmeath County Council, they said the site was in need of safety railings and traffic calming measures to prepare the site for the playground and that unfortunately the additional funding for this was not available at this time, so for the moment, the playground was on hold.

However, in a motion proposed later in the meeting by Cllr. Colm Arthur, he asked that the Council provide funding for the playground and associated works as per recommendations of the Area Engineer Howard Costello at the agreed location owned by the Council.

Councillor Arthur went on to say that he had been told that monies for the project had not in fact been ringfenced and that he feared that it might go towards building a playground on site that was ready to go elsewhere.

In another written reply, Kilbeggan Area Office said it had sought additional funding for this work from the Community and Enterprise Section. But Councillor Arthur said that he had been told by Mr. Maurice Stenson Administrative Officer for Community and Enterprise that funding for parks in the county was allotted on a general and not an individual basis:

'My concern is that if the money for the safety measures is not found, then another area will take the funding for Rochfortbridge because their site is safe and ready to go,' said Mr. Arthur.

'Every year for the last three years 39 children have started in national schools here and I would say that there are at least 200 children who need this park. It is vital for the area,' he continued.

'I would also say that we are storing up trouble and social problems if we can"t give our kids something to do. It"s fine doling out planning permission according to zoning and so on, but what about the green areas, the schools and the general infrastructure that a place needs to become a community?' he asked.

Speaking to the Westmeath Examiner this week, Cllr. Arthur said he had since been in contact with Mr. Stenson again, to further determine the security that the playground would go ahead.

He said that Maurice Stenson had given him his word that he would actively pursue the proposal for the provision of a playground facility at Beggars Bridge, Rochfortbridge.

It has been agreed that a meeting will take place involving community representatives to discuss the proposal further early in August.

Who is responsible for the soft margins on the R400?

Residents living on the R400 in Rochfortbridge, that leads onto the M6 motorway interchange, have been questioning for months as to who is responsible for the upkeep of the soft margins along the road.

The answer was given in part at last week"s Kilbeggan Area Meeting when Cllr. Colm Arthur asked:

'Who is responsible for the grass cutting and reinstatement of the soft margin of the R400 from Rochfortbridge to the motorway?'

In a written reply, Westmeath County Council said 'BAM, formerly ASCON, have a landscaping contract in place to maintain this section of the R400.

This request has been passed on to the National Roads Design Office, who will liaise with the contactor.'

Cllr. Arthur said this week that he will be keeping an eye on the situation to make sure the contract is followed through.

'Large hole' to be filled

At last week"s Kilbeggan Area Meeting it arose that a large hole in front of the Hall in Rochfortbridge had been causing problems for motorists since the village enhancement works had taken place.

Cllr. Colm Arthur asked:

'Can the large hole in front of the Hall in Rochfortbridge, which has become a problem since the village enhancement works, be filled?'

As part of a written answer Westmeath County Council said:

'This work will be included as part of road restoration works currently in progress.'

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