A CONTENTIOUS €1.9m plan to improve the eastern approach road into Castletownbere – which will see the construction of 3m-wide shared-use footpaths, cycleways, as well as traffic calming and junction improvements – has received the backing of councillors.
At a meeting of the Municipal District of West Cork last week, councillors were told that the Council received 13 submissions from the public into the Castletownbere Gateway, Pedestrian Enhancement and Traffic Management proposal, with several opposing the proposal on environmental grounds.
Other planned improvements include new signage, road side walls and pedestrian crossings at Rodeen, Derrymihan West and Foildarrig.
However, some councillors did express their dissatisfaction that they were only able to see the documents – which included public submissions – of the chief executive’s report on the Part 8 planning application that morning at the meeting.
Cllr Patrick Gerard Murphy (FF) proposed the planning application and pointed out that this is a ‘standalone project’ and has nothing to do with the Transportation Project in the town centre.
‘This stands on its own merit and can only be positive for the town and this is dragging on a long time. It’s important for Castletownbere and people are being forced to walk on the grass verge and it makes more sense for a footpath for the area,’ said Cllr Murphy.
‘It will only add to the visual amenity on the approach road coming from Glengarriff.’
Cllr Danny Collins (Ind) said this was one of the main issues being brought up by residents and said it has been delayed long enough.
While welcoming any investment in Castletownbere, Cllr Holly Cairns (SD) said that receiving all the documents relating to the submissions that morning was not ideal.
Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan (FF) agreed and said it was that it was the first time that he had been able to see the submissions.
‘It’s very short notice to get it and I would like further time and consideration as I am not comfortable with just seeing it now,’ said Cllr O’Sullivan.
Cllr Karen Coakley (FG) agreed with the county mayor and said that councillors should get the documents ahead of meetings.
Cllr Paul Hayes (SF) said that ‘Castletownbere is crying out for investment.’
‘We all recognise that this is a fairly contentious issue in the area and it would have been better to get all these documents earlier but I am happy to back the proposal,’ said Cllr Hayes.
Cllr Joe Carroll (FF) said it’s got ‘airing enough’ and he supported sending forward the proposal to full Council for approval.