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Matthews welcomes progress on Greystones Community College

Date: 20 August 2021

Green Party TD, Steven Matthews has welcomed the rapid progress made on Greystones Community College following an on-site visit this week. ‘The site was busy; work is ongoing at pace and from what I saw it is on target to welcome students on time for the start of term’ said Deputy Matthews discussing the site visit.

“I know this has been an extremely stressful time for parents, teachers and students connected to Greystones Community College as they faced an uphill battle in getting a temporary site for their new school. The initial 8 units are just ready for the start of the school year and the larger, longer term project – the 16-classroom building will commence soon after.

“I am very encouraged by the huge progress in recent months. I have been consistently contacted by understandably worried parents about whether their children will be in classrooms in time for the new school year. Although the timeline and supply side factors presented serious challenges, through constant liaising with Minister Foley and the Department of Education the project has been delivered on time. The classroom units look well, and I was particularly encouraged by the quality and high standards of these prefabricated units especially the heating and ventilation controls.

“I thank Greystones Tennis club for the temporary accommodation solution last year when combined with distance learning, but it was never envisaged to be anything more than a temporary fix. I expect that the parents, teachers, and students alike will be relieved and look forward to the year ahead in much more suitable, purpose built, classroom accommodation.

“Overall, the stress that the shortage of school places has placed on parents throughout Greystones and Kilcoole is not acceptable and not something that future students should have to endure. Wicklow County Council and the Department of Education forward planning services liaise to ensure that zoning of land, population targets and the general demographics of school places provision are managed in the planning system. However, with the rapid growth in housing and population numbers in the area, which was agreed by Greystones Councillors in their Local Area Plan, it appears that the provision of school places has failed to keep up to pace. There is more residential development planned and zoned in Greystones and this will create further school places pressure.

“In my view there is a flaw in the planning system, whereby an applicant for large scale housing only has to show that there is an adequate number of schools in the area to serve the development. There appears to be no onus on the applicant to prove that those schools have excess capacity of places to serve the increase in demand from their development. I have made a submission to our Wicklow County Development Plan that applicants for large scale housing, as part of their planning application, shall provide proof from each school that they have excess capacity.

“As we continue to build housing across the county, we must ensure that the community, public and transport services needed are delivered on time to turn houses into homes and better served communities”, concluded Deputy Matthews.



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