We are a close knit community, with a high percentage of elderly and disabled people, who have lived through several major floods in Little Bray, County Wicklow, Ireland. Yet, in 2005, the 8.6 acre floodplain that lies between us and the sea - which took those floods from our homes - was zoned for high density building, while 16.5 acres of the high ground above it was zoned as open space.
We fought this successfully, with very limited resources, until in 2010 planning permission was approved to build a new Bray Town Centre right across our floodplain. By then an economic recession had joined our battle.
The land was taken over by our National Assets Management Agency (NAMA), a ‘bad bank’ set up to recoup huge loans made by Irish banks to property developers. It therefore now belongs to us, the Irish nation - but NAMA was set up with the remit of selling on its portfolios to the highest bidder.
We want our Government to direct NAMA to hold onto this floodplain until that planning permission can be revoked, and until our County Council reverses this dangerous zoning. Then safe development of a kind that complements our traditional town centre (in Big Bray) can take place on the high ground, with the floodplain retained as a linear park, with playing pitches.
Flood defences have been put in place, but flood defences can, and do, fail. When that happens the flood waters can no longer reach the river and sea, except through the slow process of non-returnable valves.
We still need our floodplain, particularly for our elderly, our frail, our neighbours with special needs, and for the homes in which we have lived together for many years - but NAMA is presently winding up operations by selling off the last of its portfolios. Please give our small community a very big voice by asking the Irish Government and Wicklow County Council to urgently #SaveOurFloodplain. Thank you!
WE, THE UNDERSIGNED, support Little Bray community group SWAP (Safety With Alternative Plan) in their aim to have the zoning on the old Bray Golf course lands returned to their original, safe status, i.e. open space on the 8.6 acres of floodplain alongside the River Dargle to be used as a linear park and playing pitches, and the high ground above (38.4 acres) developed to meet our town’s residential and commercial needs, as an adjunct to Bray’s real Town Centre.
We believe that this is the safest and best use of this land for both Big and Little Bray.
We therefore petition WICKLOW CO. COUNCIL to return this site to its original safe zoning. And we petition OUR NATIONAL GOVERNMENT to ensure that this land remains within the care of the nation (NAMA) until such time as the zoning is changed, or until planning permission to put high density buildings on this floodplain runs out in the summer of 2020.