The ambition of Sustainable Swords is to provide a multi-faceted approach to the planning, design and management of new development and spaces, as well as the protection and enhancement of existing assets in order to achieve better quality places as the physical setting for life in Swords.
Fingal has appointed KPMG Future Analytics and Turner & Townsend to work with the Planning & Strategic Infrastructure Department to develop this Strategy.
Two surveys have now opened as part of the consultation process and local residents, businesses and interested stakeholders are urged to get involved. More details on the project and the surveys can be found at www.fingal.ie/sustainableswords or https://consult.fingal.ie/en/surveys.
The aim of Sustainable Swords is to identify a co-ordinated range of ‘pipeline’ projects for which future funding can be sought.
Key objectives are to:
- Enhance the identity of the town centre through the: development of Swords Civic Centre and Cultural Centre; the on-going implementation of the conservation plan for Swords Castle; and the delivery of an enhanced accessible child-friendly public realm including new public nodes in Swords Town Centre.
- Facilitate the creation of a new street /pedestrian walkway fronting the river walk to the west of Main Street opening up these ‘backlands’ and support co-ordinated infill development on key strategic sites along Main Street and North Street.
- Promote core recreational and amenity spaces, utilising in particular Ward River Valley Park, Swords Cultural Quarter including Town Park, Ward River Walk west of Main Street area.
- Explore the potential of establishing a Swords Business Improvement District (BID).
- Expand upon the recommendations in the Swords section of the South Fingal Transport Study and develop a multi-modal transport strategy for Swords informed by in-depth research and analysis.
- Support community cohesion measures including, for example, establish a collaborative ‘what works’ approach to promoting safer neighbourhoods and reducing antisocial behaviour to enable everyone to contribute to a sense of well-being within an improved quality of life.
- Measures to enable regeneration of lands within the study area to ensure rejuvenation of the town centre and to enable activation of land for compact development.
- Establish a prioritised, programmed and impactful package of measures and projects.
Mayor of Fingal Cllr David Healy said: “Sustainable Swords will focus specifically on placemaking within the town centre and it is intended that the historic shift away from Main Street that commenced in the early 2000’s will be reversed to facilitate better placemaking and a more resilient town centre. The Sustainable Swords project will facilitate an accessible, inviting public realm that links with the natural and historic context of the Ward River Valley Park and Swords Castle, will improve permeability and enhance the opportunities for local innovation and economic development.”
AnnMarie Farrelly, Fingal County Council Chief Executive, said: “Crucially, this project involves working in a collaborative way with those who live and work or have an interest in Swords to discover what their needs and aspirations are and how these can be addressed through the Sustainable Swords Strategy. Ultimately it is about creating good places that promote people’s health, happiness, and well-being.”
Ultimately, the success of the project will rely on stakeholders to understand the existing space and contributors to the quality of life in the local community.
Matthew McAleese, Director of Planning & Strategic Infrastructure, has urged interested groups and individuals to have their say: “Going forward, public participation will be the key measure of success and therefore collaboration and public consultation will be prioritised and promoted throughout. To this end, two surveys will be available on https://consult.fingal.ie/en/surveys from May 14 to June 13 2021. These are aimed at members of the public and business owners respectively.”
Work has already begun to consult with local school children. An Taisce’s Green Schools are part of the project team and will be engaging with over 7,500 primary and secondary school students, undertaking audits of walkability and cyclability, and engaging with parents and students to understand what the children of Swords want their future to look like.
The Sustainable Swords strategy, which will include detail on a range of transformational projects, will be published in early 2022.