Fingal County Council has launched a public consultation on its draft plan to regenerate the centre of Swords through sustainable development.
The draft Sustainable Swords Strategy, which contains 16 projects, is a plan based on best practice in urban development from across the world and will create an accessible, inclusive, child-friendly, and healthy urban environment in Swords which will, in turn, increase the resilience of the local economy.
The 16 projects are across five themes that can be funded through different streams and are designed to create a place where people will want to live, work, visit and do business. It is anticipated this series of short, medium, and long-term projects will be delivered in a phased manner over time and will transform Swords into a modern European city that celebrates its unique history.
The Mayor of Fingal, Cllr Howard Mahony, said, “the Sustainable Swords Strategy has been developed over the last two years and is now being presented to the people of Swords and beyond for their feedback. It is important for the Council to receive feedback from residents, business owners, workers, students, investors and visitors on what they like and don’t like about the plan because it is going to be part of the blueprint for the future development of Swords.”
The Chief Executive of Fingal County Council, AnnMarie Farrelly, said, “a town is never complete and it never stops changing. You can see that with Swords. Swords will experience a lot of change in the coming years and the challenge is to ensure that the change that happens within Swords is a positive process that will make Swords a better place to live, work and visit; create a more vibrant town for all; and become a good practice example of a sustainable approach to urban development.”
The population of Swords has increased ten-fold over the past 50 years and is continuing to expand. In response, Fingal County Council is working to ensure that Swords grows sustainably and develops into well-designed county capital.
The key to this is a plan to facilitate better placemaking and create a more resilient town centre by reversing the historic shift away from Main Street, which commenced in the early 2000s.
The first of the 16 Sustainable Swords projects is the transformation of Main Street which includes a series of initiatives to transform the centre of the town into a more attractive and vibrant place, encouraging people to stay longer, spend more and have a more enjoyable experience in the centre of the town.
The next four projects build on these initiatives, under the theme of reimaging the public realm. They will deliver a major improvement in the quality of the public space in Swords town centre. The focus is on a phased enhancement of the public realm that will provides space for all and add to the attractiveness of the town centre.
It includes upgrades to laneways off Main Street and the key roads that link the centre to the rest of Swords. There are also projects to enhance shop fronts and to combine the physical infrastructure of streets with digital infrastructure such as smart bins, smart benches, smart water filling stations and smart lighting.
The five projects under the third theme will improve access, permeability and connectivity to enable ease of movement and generate more active travel, something that is critically important to reducing private car use in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and deliver positive benefits for the environment and the improve physical health of citizens.
These projects include a cycle network that consists of radial routes linking the outer residential areas to Swords Town Centre as well as a greenway network that utilises the green and blue corridors that exist in the area.
There is also a Quietways and Home Zones project which will facilitate the sharing of streets by pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles as well a project which will deliver Safe Routes to Schools and School Zones.
The final project under the third theme is the Western Distributor Road which will direct vehicular through-traffic away from Swords Town Centre and facilitate improved connections to the proposed MetroLink Estuary Station and Park and Ride facility.
The fourth theme deals with protecting and promoting the rich heritage of Sword which dates back 1,500 years. The projects under this theme are designed to enhance and protect that heritage for future generations as well as creating new experiences for visitors which in turn will encourage increased tourism spend in the town.
The projects include the Swords Cultural Quarter as well as two feasibility studies on the creation of a heritage trail around the town and a visitor experience at St Columba’s Church and Round Tower.
The final theme focuses on enhancing the natural environment, supporting community initiatives, and celebrating Swords through promotion and branding which will include a wayfinding strategy.
The projects under this theme include a community forest, sustainable community initiatives and the development and promotion of the Swords brand as well as other initiatives aimed at rebuilding the local economy and encouraging people to shop local and support local service and retail providers.
The draft Sustainable Swords Strategy can be viewed and downloaded at www.fingal.ie/sustainableswords while copies are available to read at County Hall, Swords Library and the Civic Offices in Blanchardstown. Submissions can made to https://consult.fingal.ie before Tuesday, October 18, 2022.
Source: Fingal County Council