Save Rivervalley, Ridgewood, Ashfield and Knocksedan (Brackenstown) Greenbelt has campaigned for over 25 years to protect a precious Greenbelt in Swords, County Dublin.

Its supporters include residents, Fingal Councillors (5 out of 7 Swords Cllrs) and a range of community organizations. including Swords Tidy Towns.

During the latest Draft Development Plan Public Consultation (2023-2029) ex-Cllr. Anne Devitt made a submission FIN-C453-259 asking for the Greenbelt to be rezoned. Unfortunately, Cllr. Brigid Manton (Fianna Fail) supported this rezoning submission by putting forward Motion 535. Due to community pressure this motion was defeated.

Similarly, Cllr. Darragh Butler (Fianna Fail) proposed another Greenbelt in Swords should be rezoned (Uniplumo, Rathbeale Road). Again due to the fantastic work of our community this motion was defeated.

What would happen if the Greenbelt was rezoned?

Rezoning the Greenbelt would risk creating a massive high-density urban sprawl linking Rivervalley, Ridgewood, Ashfield and Knocksedan with thousands of extra units into one giant, concrete, faceless “super estate”. 

It would lead to;

  • environmental destruction, loss of biodiversity and pollution of already overdeveloped communities as the Climate Change crisis worsens
  • four large estates merging (three existing and one new) into one concrete urban sprawl, including new roads through existing estates. Rivervalley, Ridgewood, Ashfield and Knocksedan would cease to exist as distinct communities.
  • traffic chaos, gridlock, health and safety risks, especially for children
  • unsustainable pressure on vital local services e.g. schools, healthcare, transport and social amenities

We realize there is a housing crisis. However, there is already a large surplus of residentially zoned land in Swords to cope with its planned growth. This has been confirmed by Fingal County Council’s CEO AnnMarie Farrelly and Council Planners. The solution is to build affordable houses on this land, not destroy a valuable Greenbelt.

329 submissions were made during the current (2023-2029) Development Plan consultation process (the largest number of submissions on any single issue) asking for the Greenbelt to be retained. Submissions were made by residents, community groups and Cllrs. In contrast 2 submissions asked for the Greenbelt to be rezoned, 1 by the developer.

This means 99.4% of our community want the Greenbelt protected.

In addition, over 2,500 residents have already signed a petition asking for the Greenbelt to be protected.

5 of the 7 Swords Cllrs. are also actively supporting the campaign.

“…the strategic greenbelt around Swords which safeguards the innate rural value of the Fingal countryside from unsustainable settlement patterns and prevents the undesirable agglomeration of settlements in the area. Any encroachment into this strategic Greenbelt area would result in coalescence and the loss of definition between urban and rural areas and loss of strategic Greenbelt lands and would seriously undermine the longstanding policy of the Council with regard to Greenbelt protection and would be contrary to the zoning objective and vision to protect Greenbelt lands as set out in the current FDP 2017-2023 and in the Draft Plan…” (Chief Executive’s Report on Draft Development Plan (DPP) Public Consultation, p. 536)

“…It is also recognised that Green Infrastructure is a vital component in building resilient communities capable of adapting to the consequences of climate change…” (DDP, p. 317).

The Greenbelt is the “lungs” of our growing community. It plays a key role in protecting the ecology of Ward River Park. Contrary to submission FIN-C453-259 and Motion 535, rezoning would destroy Bio-Diversity and this precious resource. It will lead to increased pollution (air, water and noise) and traffic congestion, adding further to a planet that is already on fire.

Our “Vision” is that the Greenbelt becomes an “Urban Forest”, an amenity that can be accessed with walkways and cycle paths and enjoyed by the entire community. A space that promotes physical and mental health. This exciting opportunity can’t happen if the Greenbelt is rezoned.

For all the above reasons (and more), retaining and protecting the entire Greenbelt is highly important for the health and well-being of the people living in Rivervalley, Ridgewood, Ashfield and Knocksedan. 

Please support our campaign by checking out the “How You Help” section