Pitch battle to keep housing on sidelines


Skerries Harps GAA club

For local politicians the housing crisis is like a match in Wicklow – digs come from all directions. Now in Fingal, local GAA club members are lashing out over a failure to provide enough playing pitches for a rapidly growing population.

Fingal County Council spent €26,000 on a KPMG report to tell them what Skerries Harps GAA club members already knew: there is a severe local shortage of pitches.

"There are already almost 100 teams using the facilities weekly and resources are at breaking point,” said a letter sent by hundreds of club members to local politicians. The club wants to build two pitches on its own land but planners have so far blocked the plan over traffic concerns.

Yet hundreds of houses are to be built on a nearby site. Building them ahead of necessary social infrastructure is a recipe for disaster, argue locals. It all adds up to yet more badly needed homes heading for intractable planning delays.

Last week, this newspaper covered Adamstown, where – finally – the model of making new housing contingent on prior provision of community resources appears to be working. Planners everywhere need to take note.

Size Group grows to €100m turnover

Ergo passed an unmissable construction site hoarding outside a stately redbrick mansion in north London last month. The work was being done by Kildare builder Darren Size’s firm, Size Group. It was on leafy Avenue Road, where London’s most expensive home – all 25,000 sq ft of it – sold for £75m last year. Thanks to construction being deemed an essential industry over there, recently filed accounts for the builder (who previously worked on a £250m Mayfair mansion for billionaire John Caudwell) reveal turnover was up 27pc last year to £87m (€102m), with pre-tax profit up 62pc to £2.2m. Demand continues to be high, more so now that foreign buyers are returning to the UK, for features like the huge basements in which Size Group specialises.

Remembering Spirit of Ireland

Ergo wonders how much more secure our power supply might be if Norwegian renewable energy giant Statkraft and various other individuals and organisations hadn’t turned down the opportunity to invest in the €1.5bn ‘Spirit of Ireland’ pumped hydro-power scheme in 2013, as this newspaper reported three years ago in 2018. How different things might be today if the admittedly ambitious scheme had been built – with a promised generation capacity of a multiple of Turlough Hill’s 292MW, which has rarely operated in recent times.

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