Minutes of last SAAO Management Committee

The draft minutes of the February 2006 SAAO management committee are below.




Bellingham, John – Landowner                            Healy, David – Councillor
Bellingham, Fiona – Landowner                            Maher, Joan – Councillor
Breen, Con – Dublin Naturalist Field Club            Taylor, Christy – Chamber of Commerce
Coyle, Peter – Councillor                                        Tubridy, Mary – Environmental Consultant

Apologies were received on behalf of Mick McCarthy and Annita Cannon.

The chair of the Howth / Malahide Local Area Committee, Councillor David Healy, presided.


Bob Biddlecombe, A/Senior planner for the Howth / Malahide Area,
Malachy Bradley, Executive Planner for the Howth / Malahide Area
Gerry Fitzgerald, Executive Parks Superintendent, Parks Division
Hans Visser, Bio-diversity Officer, Parks Division
Deborah Tiernan Graduate Engineer, Parks Division

The meeting was structured through an agenda presented by the County Council

Levies under the S.A.A.O.

B.B. There is c. €200,000 available as a result of contributions accrued over 2 ½ years and it should be spent on ‘hard’ activities such as paths / walkways.
J. M. The special levy scheme is gone now and is part of the new levies.
M. B. The levies are subsumed into the Section 48 development contribution scheme which was adopted by Fingal Council.
P.C. The new Section 48 levies does allow for new areas of works and there is a programme of works adopted by the members.

G. F. There is a specific approved coastal plan with walkways, greenways included for the whole Fingal coast with a budget of €200,000/year but that is for the whole of Fingal
B.B. will check into the levies and the legality of the situation and will present a report to the next management committee meeting with an explanation of the current situation.


F. B. There is a concern in the area over public liability on the walkways, some of which are through private lands
B. B. The Council carry their own risk and are self-insuring
G. F.  The Council has carried out works on the upper and lower cliff paths and the tramline, the majority of other paths are on private lands
F.B. some of the signage is of poor quality and has been vandalised including the signboard near the Martello Tower

Works in the S.A.A.O.
H.V. A student carried out a review of works in Howth, including access, natural heritage issues etc. and some of the works carried out on paths, however this review was mainly on natural issues.  An overview of works should be prioritised.
M.T. stated that under SEMPA in September 2001 (page 83 of report) recommendations and proposals for a work programme were to be agreed for a management plan.
J.M. the monies should be spent soon and on definite physical projects
H.V. a lot of the works on walkways have to be carried out on private lands

At this stage G.F. presented a list of proposals from the Parks Division on works in Howth, mainly in the S.A.A.O. these include works on promotion and signage and surveys of natural vegetation.  A key proposal was a car park at Bottle Quay for 25spaces and 3 disabled spaces and barriers.

Car park at Bottle Quay

M.T. As part of L.P.G.1 it was proposed to keep the area around Bottle Quay as natural as possible and only 2 car parking spaces were proposed
G.F. A car park was needed due to the traffic and parking demand in the area, also there is likely to be an issue with the various landowners/users
J.M. There is a problem with traffic / pedestrian safety in this area
F.B.  Suggested a picnic area could be incorporated
H.V.  There are some nice plants in that area

C.C. requested that a ‘community planner’ be employed to get the views of the residents and landowners on the proposals in the area and to liase on a full time basis.  Questioned if there is funds in the budget to second / employ someone to achieve this role.
B.B.  It is unlikely that Fingal County Council have the staff / resources the previous ‘community planner’ was funded through the E.U. and the S.E.M.P.A. project.

J.M.  There would be very little chance of this happening as the current staff are under resourced at the moment and that this forum should come up with plans/proposals
C.B. The funds should be allocated on physical projects promptly as any detractors to the scheme will be encouraged.  Any works that are to be done should be have a visual presence and be performed soon

Review of Howth S.A.A.O.

It was agreed that a report would be issued at the next meeting of the management committee on the question of the review process and whether the order is to be reviewed.

St. Fintan’s Well

M. B.  St. Fintan’s Well is a National Monument, on the Record of Protected Structures and is located within the curtilage of a private dwelling.  The owners are aware of their obligations under the relevant legislation and have corresponded with fingal county council on this issue.  A report on access to the Well is to be presented at the next meeting.

Other walkways and works in the S.A.A.O.

C.B. Works on other paths on West Mountain and on The Hill need to be carried out, these are on lands that are under private ownership.  These paths are still part of the overall network and should be cleared and sign posted.
M.T. and C.B. David Tierney of Howth Estate Company should be included in the Management Committee.  This was agreed.
D. H.  A lot of rights of way are overgrown, especially on private property and some of the paths and access routes are eroded in particular on Shielmartin.
G. F. The Council don’t have the staff to contract or to ensure that landowners do these works, for example it cost €30,000 to waymark and route the tramline.
C.B. path by railway and Claremont Strand including the entrance should be maintained
J.M.  Work on the coastal erosion on the paths should be carried out, and any work should be to the maximum benefit of all people
B.B.  The children’s playground is going ahead in front of the car park in the front of the village and that the Planning Authority have proposals for a path, lighting, seating etc. from the Marina back to the village
C.C. There is no lighting along the frontage from the King Citric down the east pier
D. H. stated that the steps on some of the pathways need improving and ‘stone pitching’ should be investigated and reported back to the committee
M.T. It is a good idea to carry out some projects on private lands to include not just the main public routes
G.F. Paths in Muck Rock area would need a lot of work and contract workers would be needed
D.H. Sign posts are needed at a lot of the locations and rights of way are not being used some of them have been closed due to new developments in the area
C.B Piper’s Gut to Upper Cliff road gives a chance to walk in a circular route

J.M. quality of signs that are visually pleasing are important
B.B. asked are there some areas where disable access is important, i.e. Red Rock, Cowbooter Lane to improve disability access
M.T. suggested a logo on the signage
G.F. He will report on a set of signage proposals for the committee
C.B  There is a need to incorporate a list of bilingual street and place names for the area

Invasive Species

H.V. A lot of the invasive species in the area are on private lands, there are areas where works need to be done in particular on the heathland which is a protected habitat, however approval is required.  There is a need to talk to landowners in the area before works can be done on the spread of garden species into natural areas, the relevant landowners should be advised as to the concerns.

Muck Rock

G.F. The rhododendron issue is a huge problem in the area, the management of this invasive species in the area and the Howth Estate should be discussed at the next meeting.

Doldrum Bay

B.B. The issue of the sewer outfall at this location from dwelling in Cheanchor Road and the connection to a different sewer system should be addressed in a different forum.

Balsaggart Stream

J.B. The stream is the largest in Howth and the Golf Club take a lot of water from the stream to water the course
M.T. It is important as an open clean stream with natural habitation
J.M. There are a lot of problems with water supply and pressure in Howth
H.V. suggested that the committee have a meeting with the landowners of the 2 Golf Clubs in Howth to discuss the use of the reservoir and with the Council’s Water Services Department

Petrol Stations

C.C. queried why petrol stations were closing in Howth and where will the supply of petrol come from for the village.  
This was not considered to be under the remit of the management committee.

Approval of the Committee

D.H. for the next meeting reports to be presented on the following;
–    The review process of the S.A.A.O. (Planning)
–    The levies collected under the scheme and any future monies (Planning)
–    Studies, investigations and background work on the heath land and natural grassland (Parks)
–    The management of the invasive species within the Howth Estate (Parks)
–    A set of proposals on signage for the S.A.A.O. area (Parks)
–    Feasibility of the ‘stone pitching’ on steps on the pathways (Parks)
–    Issue of access to the protected structure – St. Fintan’s Well (Planning)

Also it was agreed that the following people be invited to participate in the next management committee meeting;

Gerry Clabby, Heritage Officer
David Tierney, Howth Estate Company

It was agreed to have the next meeting on 5th April 2006 in the Baldoyle Library

The Meeting concluded at 5.30 p.m.

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