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Opening Up Carrigaline:New Show At Carrigaline Circus Field?

Writes Ciaran Dineen

At the final meeting of the Carrigaline Municipal District (MD) ahead of the summer recess, Councillor Seámus McGrath (FF) has asked the Council that a plan be produced to outline the future use potential for the ‘Circus Field’.

With lots of progressive activity currently taking place around the village, including the implementation of outdoor seating and parklets and businesses and residents benefiting as a result, there has never been a better time to consider the long-term opportunities for Carrigaline.

In his motion to the Council, Cllr McGrath made the point that as the site is a large area in the heart of Carrigaline and at the same time owned by the Council, it should therefore have a future usage plan. McGrath noted that the back end of the field could be opened up to support a nature walkway which in turn would promote local biodiversity. He stated that in its current state the area has become quite overgrown and is now unfortunately a space that is seeing anti-social behaviour take place.

In the summer of 2018 it was reported by The Carrigdhoun Newspaper that an initial agreement between Cork County Council and Lidl had been made which would see the supermarket retailer move from its current site in Carrigaline to a section of the community field. In turn Lidl would fund the cost of developing a new car park on their old site which would be under the control of Cork County Council.

The plan, all subject to ongoing planning approval, would see Lidl move into 2.7 acres of the field, meaning that there would remain a considerable amount of other space for local community development projects.

According to former Carrigaline Councillor, Barry Cogan, the site has been used for lots of different events and gatherings and suggested that the area resembled a local ‘fair field’, that is commonplace in many towns and villages.

He also indicated that some years ago, around the turn of the millennium, that he helped to bring forward a motion that would see the development of a multi-functional sports centre, with large capacity for crowds, on the site in question. However, he noted that following a consultation process it was decided that no such venue could be built due to floodplain issues.

Coming back to the present day, the field continues to be used on a seldom basis, with the annual tour of the circus and some local car boot sales taking advantage of the space on offer. However, with other developments now beginning to commence in the area, and the construction of the western relief road, Cllr McGrath believes that this is the perfect time to make use of an area which has a huge potential.

Speaking to The Carrigdhoun Newspaper, the Fianna Fáil Councillor said that several groups in Carrigaline have approached him over the future development of the field and about land that may become available down the line.

Explaining further he says, “there is a plan in place for Lidl which is going through the planning process and at the same time I have community groups coming to me showing their interest in potential sites that may become available. I think it’s difficult to accommodate everyone but we do have the land which is owned by the Council and that is why I brought forward the motion. It is a large piece of land and given that it is at the heart of Carrigaline there should be a future plan for its use”.

Commenting on the subject following the Municipal District metting was Councillor Liam O'Connor (FG), noting that he and Carrigaline Tidy Towns have been working with SECAD "over the past year" on a potential action plan. "I have had multiple discussions with the local council engineer regarding a potential project with the hope of developing the area over the coming years. I have also discussed a mutual project with the local Scouts Club, suggesting that this area may potentially serve as a new site for their activities and events."

With the draft of the County Development Plan expected to be issued in the Autumn, it would be no surprise to see a mention of future planning for the field being added by County Councillors to the overall final plan following this motion from Councillor McGrath.

While the Lidl application for planning may continue to take some time, moving ahead with other suggestions for the retained space is now back on the agenda and could become part of the Carrigaline Public Realm strategy.

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