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Ringaskiddy Must Wait Longer For Its Public Realm Scheme

Writes Leo McMahon

Almost a year after county councillors approved the proposal for a major scheme set to transform the village of Ringaskiddy, residents were now getting frustrated, said Cllr Seamus McGrath (FF) at the monthly meeting of Carrigaline Municipal District (MD).

However, MD Officer Carol Conway assured members that Carrigaline MD was currently working with the Roads Directorate and design consultants to secure funding and to produce a new design as a result of which the council would deliver a bigger project that would make a real difference on the ground, benefitting the residents of Ringaskiddy and visitors to the area.

The scheme adopted by the MD last year, proposes enhancement of the green space close to Old Post Office Road and leading from Priest’s Avenue, narrowing of the main road in order to reduce traffic speed, significant landscaping, more street furniture, a signalised pedestrian crossing and upgrading paving. Scheme consultant for the council is Aecom, Douglas and the plans can be viewed on the council website.

Many improvements have been carried out in the village in recent years by the Tidy Towns group with the support of the council, residents’ association, businesses and others.

Cllr McGrath had a motion seeking an update on the project and wondered if the council could press ahead with the village core section of it as soon as possible.

Ms. Conway explained that the purpose of the MD working with the Roads Directorate was to prepare a feasibility study and make an application for additional funding to Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) to cover the new works. ‘As TII are owners of the N28, the council cannot commence works without their consent. Early and timely delivery of the Port funded element of the project has been flagged and agreed by all as being of the utmost importance’.

Pic - Leo McMahon

Cllr McGrath however, said he wasn’t happy because both councillors and residents were of the belief things would progress this summer and there was still no timeline on delivery resulting in frustration.

TII had, in his opinion, come with proposals at a very late stage but in the meantime suggested works not associated with the new N28 road, in particular at the central green island area and sea wall could proceed, he argued.

In agreement, Cllr Marcia D’Alton (Ind) said ultimately it was a good thing that TII was enlarging the scheme but the timing and lack of information for members and residents was unfortunate. The council was chomping at the bit to initiate it but there was need to see finalisation as costs continued to increase.

As a resident of Ballygarvan, where there was a long-awaited traffic calming scheme, chairperson Cllr Ben Dalton-O’Sullivan (Ind) said he fully empathised and wondered if the two aspects of the project could be separated.

Ms Conway later outlined the additional works that TII, when asked for approval of detailed design at pre-tender stage, requested at a subsequent meeting with council officials:

1, Look to address the gateways into the village; 2, Speed reduction through scheme via build-out footpaths; 3, Show future connections from County Development plan – zoning and cycleways; 4, Connection to future R613 school site; 5, Increase all build-outs to a minimum of eight metre lengths, especially near any crossing points (there are three points of which one is controlled); 6, Additional crossing points at bus stops; 7, Build out at St Joseph’s Terrace near the Oratory, road lining and crossing points for pedestrians and 8, Connection of path outside Perry Street Café.

Ms Conway said she too fully understood the frustrations of all concerned but argued against tinkering around the main part of the scheme at this stage and removing a footpath in the vicinity of the old post office, Palmer’s Terrace the green area, sea wall and proposed plaza area with no replacement path for some time. She warned against a disjointed approach but assured members it was a priority project for the MD.

In the meantime, the MD was applying to TII for funding for which it sought a new feasibility report, and it was giving a new brief to its consultants. As soon as officials had timelines, members would be informed.

Cllr D’Alton said she was mystified as to why TII would require an additional feasibility report on extra bits they wanted. Cllr McGrath said the frustration was with TII not the council officials because surely at the stage of ‘Part 8’ planning application by the council, TII surely were part of it and yet it came with changes at the pre-tender stage. He feared a lengthy delay and urged there be assurance on funding for the scheme to progress as soon as possible. Other members concurred.

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