27 Sept 2022

Vows against rezone of Longford Greyhound Track as local group puts pressure on council to buy

Vows against rezone of Longford Greyhound Track as local group puts pressure on council to buy

Longford Greyhound Track

The council must purchase the site of Longford Greyhound Stadium, according to local committee, Longford Greyhound Track Amenities (LGTA).

Spokesperson for the group Mark Keenan has expressed concern that immediate action needs to be taken by local representatives to ensure the site of the track does not fall into the hands of commercial or residential developers.

In fact, the property has the opportunity to be turned into a community resource, and should be kept in the community and for the community, Mr Keenan insisted.

“The site is zoned as a sports and recreation area, yet it is advertised as having high development potential at €750,000,” he said.

“A rezoning of the site would require a vote from councillors, who have stated that they will not support rezoning. We fundamentally disagree with the advertising of the property as having high development potential.”

In a document compiled by the LGTA, seen by the Leader, Mr Keenan has put forward a number of proposals for the site, including the construction of a skate park, one or two soccer pitches, or a 400m running track with one soccer pitch.

Longford Municipal District councillors have vowed that there will be no rezoning of Longford Greyhound Track for residential or commercial use, despite recent murmurings that the site may be used for housing.

At a meeting of Longford MD, which was held via Microsoft Teams last Wednesday afternoon, Cllr Seamus Butler raised the issue, stating that a large number of local residents have expressed concerns that the redevelopment of the site would take away a valuable amenity from the town.

“If anyone is thinking of purchasing it for anything other then sport or leisure, then they have another thing coming,” Cllr Butler stressed.

“This is totally misleading advertising. There will be no housing on that land or anything of that sort.”

Cathaoirleach of Longford Municipal District Cllr Peggy Nolan was he first to back her colleague in his statement.

“Why it’s being advertised as prime development land is beyond me,” she said.

“It will never be anything but recreational. We can never let another green space go out of this Municipal District.”

Cllr Gerry Warnock stated that the biggest statement made by Longford MD was that they would maintain the zoning for a sports and recreational site and all seven mid-Longford councillors were “passionate about retaining that”.

“It’s there for the benefit of the people of Longford and not for development,” he said. “It is the ambition of every member in Longford MD that recreational zoning remains for Longford Greyhound Track.”

Cllr Gerry Hagan whole-heartedly agreed with his colleagues, stating that the site is “a purpose-built facility in the heart of our town”.

“With very little development, it could be a running track, a soccer pitch. It’s safe - in a safe part of our town. It’s accessible from the train station and bus station. This will not be changed for residential, commercial or any other purpose. It will remain a sports and recreation site.”

Meanwhile, Cllr Martin Monaghan noted that “every one of us is on record stating that the site be recreational”.

“There were seven councillors here all in agreement from day one on this. They can do absolutely nothing without our say so on this. It's going to be a recreational area.”

Also giving her support to the cause, Cllr Uruemu Adejinmi said that she has had a number of people express their concern and has reassured all of them that the council has no intention of changing the zoning of that site.

“Any attempt to rezone that site will be met with great resistance,” she insisted.

Finally, Cllr John Browne, who was clearly in agreement with his colleagues, made one short and simple statement to express his support: “And so say all of us.”

Concluding the issue, Cllr Peggy Nolan put out a strong message that the public need not worry about and rezoning of the site.

“Let the public have no fear. We know our duty. We are carrying out our duty. And our duty is to make sure that that green space will remain in the Longford Municipal District,” she said.

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