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03 Jul 2022

No resources for safety audit of public spaces in Kildare

Concern

No resources for safety audit of public spaces in Kildare

Aras Chill Dara, Naas

Kildare County Council doesn’t have the resources to carry out a safety audit on public spaces.

Labour councillor Angela Feeney asked for the audit so that public spaces could be redesigned if necessary, with safety needs in mind.

Cllr Feeney said there should be a consultation process on how best to make public spaces safer for all citizens and “paying particular attention to the female perspective.”

Cllr Feeney said it is important for people to feel they are heard and this could be done through public consultation and it’s also important for the lived experiences of people are taken into account when public spaces are designed.

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“Vienna is cited as a city for its model approach, especially for teenage girls who don’t feel safe,” Cllr Feeney told a KCC meeting on May 30.

KCC official Eoghan Ryan said  while there are no resources for an audit, human centred design having regard to the safety of all users, is an important consideration of all public spaces and parks.

He said that is covered by KCC policy and agreed by councillors in the development plan.

Priority is given to ensuring routes are direct, safe and secure and that streets are well designed and well lit, which will encourage pedestrian activity.

He also said there should be passive supervision of the public realm and this is the most effective means of preventing anti-social behaviour.

Another KCC official Marian Higgins said the use of passive supervision is an important consideration in the design and location of all parks and playgrounds.

“This requires as much as is practically feasible (for) the parks and playgrounds to be overlooked by adjacent housing, roads and paths as well as the elimination of isolated areas.”

Ms Higgins said other design considerations are the inclusion of lighting, avoiding the use of densely planted areas and using standard trees with no lower branches in addition to maximising the use of open spaces and encouraging community ownership.

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