Writes Jack White & Leo McMahon
With much discussion recently on the potential improvement plans for Carrigaline, including the Carrigaline Public Realm Project, local councillors have upped the ante in trying to progress plans.
This week Cllr. Liam O’Connor met with the Cork County Council architect who is compiling the requirements for the Carrigaline Public Realm Project, a project focusing on the enhancement and transformation of Carrigaline town. A decision is expected shortly on the architect firm that will be awarded the project. Following their appointment, a detailed design will be compiled. It is expected that this detailed design will take approximately 4 months to complete.
Also working on the issue, at the last monthly meeting of Cork County Council’s Municipal District, Cllr. Seamus McGrath said, “It’s critically important that we improve the town centre” as he welcomed plans by Cork County Council that a public realm proposal for Carrigaline could be submitted in the first quarter of 2020 following a public workshop this December.
Speaking on the plans, Cllr. Liam O’Connor said, “I met with the council architect last April, who subsequently met with other stakeholders and interested parties. Following our collective input a preliminary report was compiled, a comprehensive account of the necessary, innovative and exciting improvements for the Carrigaline public realm e.g Town centre plaza, realise potential of the river/estuary, improved cycleways and the enhancement of Main Street.”
According to Cllr O’Connor, “This public realm improvement project will improve our living and working environment, and as a public representative, the Chairperson of Carrigaline Tidy Towns and a member of the community I will continue to ensure that this vision is realised.”
Also on the agenda at the last monthly meeting of Cork County Council’s Municipal District, was a motion from Cllr McGrath seeking an update on the plans that received ‘Category B’ funding from the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDG) in 2018. He also sought a timeline for the different stages and its relationship with the proposed Carrigaline Transportation and Public Realm Enhancement Plan.
In a report, acting senior engineer John Conroy said written confirmation was in fact, received by the council from the Department of Local Government in June 2019 regarding URDG funding.
‘In consultation with various stakeholders, the council prepared a vision document and in July advertised for an architect/urban design led team to develop a waterfront urban design framework and public realm enhancement project for Carrigaline. The closing date for the competition advertised on e-tenders was September 19th. Tenders are currently being reviewed’.
Mr. Conroy said that subject to appointment of a consultant, it was envisaged that a public workshop would take place in Carrigaline in December that would inform the appointed consultant of public realm design options.
‘It is envisaged the plans for a public realm proposal would be sufficiently developed for the council to submit a ‘Part 8’ planning application in the first quarter of 2020’, the engineer added.
‘We need to create a public realm that is attractive and encourages people to spend time in the heart of the town. We are lacking that at present. The main street is a major traffic thoroughfare but it’s noisy and in that sense, not appealing so it’s vitally important to create the town centre we deserve’, said Cllr McGrath, who welcomed the progress on this and the proposed inner western relief road.
Both councillors have pledged to keep the public up to date as plans progress.
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