CORK County Council’s draft development plan has been called into question in Skibbereen.
The West Cork Municipal District public consultation documents includes proposals for Skibbereen, Clonakilty, Bantry, Dunmanway, Castletownbere and Schull, but one auctioneer has come out and described the new town centre boundary in Skibbereen as ‘restrictive.’
Charlie McCarthy said he downloaded a copy of the local area plan because he has ‘concerns’ since the abolition of the Town Council.
‘With more and more decisions being made in Cork city, I think it is important that we keep a check on what is being proposed,’ he told The Southern Star.
Looking at the map for Skibbereen and the new town centre boundary, he said: ‘It is obvious that all of the southern side of Townshend Street has been excluded.’
But the impact of what is being proposed has wider implications because, he claims, ‘huge commercial sections of the town have also been excluded, including parts of Market Street, Baltimore Road and Castletownshend Road’.
According to Mr McCarthy, this raises questions with regard to future development and it could have implications for future commercial planning applications.
Another worrying aspect of the proposed plan is that the only area marked for expansion within the town centre is The Fairfield car park.
Mr McCarthy said: ‘This is the most central and essential car park in town. The commercial life of the town is dependent on this area being retained as a car park.
‘There are a lot of new, vibrant developments taking place in the town – including the Ludgate digital hub, the new school, the re-opening of the Eldon Hotel and launch of Carmel Somers’ Good Things Café – which means that Skibbereen will need more, not less, car parking spaces.’
A spokesperson for Cork County Council said: ‘The local area plans are currently under review and discussion documents have been circulated in each Municipal District to stimulate responses. The documents are available on www.corkcoco.ie and, as advertised widely, members of the public can make submissions until January 25th. ‘
He added that the draft plans will be published in November.