Oppose Motion 535: Residents Unimpressed With Cllr’s Reply

Community frustration is turning to anger, in response to Cllr. Manton’s latest email reply to residents.

Residents who had contacted the campaign have said Cllr. Manton’s reply was “condescending”, “patronising” and “dismissive”.

In addition, the Cllr’s email contains a number of inaccuracies which we’ve responded to below (Cllr’s initial email is in bold).

Just to put things in perspective here. I am in favour of the green necklace around Swords. The area in question however is not a greenbelt. It is actually privately owned land that is not for sale. Greenbelt does not equate to green space.

The Greenbelt, which the Cllr is trying to rezone is a key part of the green necklace. You can’t rezone the Greenbelt & support the green necklace at the same time. It’s contradictory!

The land in question is a Greenbelt. This is confirmed in the Fingal Development Plan/Maps Draft Sheet 8 – Swords;


The following is the definition of a greenbelt: Greenbelt” is a general term that refers to natural, undeveloped, and/or agricultural lands that surround urban areas. These lands may include open spaces, parks, farms and ranches, wildlands, or a combination thereof—as designated by cities, counties, special districts, and other jurisdictions. 

There is a greenbelt area across the road from Knocksedan. On that greenbelt, there is everything from packaging companies to large lorries to helicopters to bouncy castles.

This is incorrect. You cannot build on a Greenbelt. The general rule of thumb with Greenbelt land is that any and all building developments are prohibited unless they are covered by exceptions in government policy. The main exceptions are for agricultural and forestry buildings, some outdoor sports facilities and extensions or replacements of existing buildings.

Greenbelt allows for a whole load of ad hoc matter including caravans. During the last two years, we have had hundreds of caravans move onto two different sites in Holywell and it was a huge ordeal to have them removed and back to where they came from.

The Cllr. shouldn’t use the Traveller community as a scaremongering tactic to frighten our community.

The man who owns this land has donated huge amounts of land to the community and is prepared to give more along with playing fields to the community. I put this motion forward because I believe that it’s worthwhile having the conversation to get the best we can for our community.

The land doesn’t have to be rezoned in order for the landowner to donate land to the community or to discuss transferring a portion of the land to the Council as a public amenity.

The Cllr’s motion calls for a “conversation”. We’ve already had a conversation through the official channel, the Fingal Draft Development Plan Public Consultation process, where 99.4% (329 v 2 submissions) of Swords residents called for the Greenbelt retained and protected. This is the official and democratic process, followed by residents. We ask the Cllr. again, to acknowledge and honour this decision by the community.

I suggest you go on google and look at what is zoned greenbelt across the road from Knocksedan and then tell me that that is what we want to leave ourselves open to.

See the note above re the definition of “greenbelt”.

On a personal note, I love Swords. I played in this area as a child and have many memories of being terrified of being caught by the farmers who owned it. It is an absolute joy for me to see this area come into public ownership. However, we cannot achieve anymore without working with the people who actually own what we are looking for.

We love Swords also. The best way for the Cllr. to demonstrate this is to respect our community’s wishes and protect our precious Greenbelt, for now, and for the generation to come. 

2000+ residents have already signed an ongoing petition supporting this request.

I hope this may give you some further insight as to why this motion was submitted.

Unfortunately, Cllr. Manton’s reply doesn’t reflect the best interests of our community. Again, we ask the Cllr. to withdraw Motion 535.

Rezoning a Greenbelt creates a dangerous precedent, by putting all Greenbelt at risk of future rezoning. 

Rezoning should take place based on strategic need & suitable location and not driven by random offers of land “donations”. If this model was adopted it would signal a return to the “bad old days”, a chaotic and failed policy of ad hoc planning versus sustainable community building advocated by the vast majority of residents, 5 of the 7 Swords Cllrs., Fingal County Council Planners and it’s CEO AnnMarie Farrelly.

We want our children to grow up in a clean, safe and sustainable environment. Motion 535 would lead to urban sprawl, worsening climate change and more pressure on already overstretched services.

Please listen to our community Cllr. and withdraw Motion 535!

Find out how you can support the campaign to Save Swords Greenbelt