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Streetscape Painting, Signage and Improvement Scheme 2019

Cork County Council‘s Streetscape Painting, Signage and Improvement Scheme has just been released for 2019!
 
This scheme is all about improving the look of town centres throughout the Ballincollig-Carrigaline Municipal District so if you are an owner or tenant of a building on the main street of the town centre in Passage West, Carrigaline, Ringaskiddy, Douglas or Ballincollig, you may qualify for a grant of up to 50% of the cost of painting your building facade and/or a grant of up to 50% for replacing plastic/neon signage with heritage signage. If you want to do the painting yourself, the scheme covers 100% of the cost of materials. If you can get your street or group of buildings to collaborate, a grant of up to 60% is available for facade painting. And if you have a more tricky 3-storey building, additional fund may be available to help you out.
 

The application form and guidelines are available at these links:

Application Form 2019 Paint Scheme

If you would like me to email them to you in Word format, please let me know. Or if you would prefer to fill out a hard copy, they will be available in the Passage West Post Office in the next couple of days.

 

Applications for the scheme for towns going into the City (Ballincollig and Douglas) are to be received by 24th May. Applications for towns staying in the County have a closing date of 28th June.  Areas to be included in the scheme are as follows:

 

 

BALLINCOLLIG

Main Street (R608): West from the junction at Carrigdene to 100m west of Junction at Coolroe (Supervalu shopping centre), Bothar Saclay to Baker Street, including Chapel Gate, Time Square, Chapel Lane Row, Station Road from Main St to Baker Street & The Square.

CARRIGALINE

Western side of R611:

Area South of Carrigaline Court Hotel to Church Hill/ Kilmoney Road junction.

Eastern side of R611:

Area South of Garda station to Church Hill/Kilmoney Road junction.

DOUGLAS

Douglas East, Douglas West, Church Road,  Church Street

PASSAGE WEST

R610 Cork Street through Beach Road to Carrigmahon Hill junction.

Railway Sreet.

Chapel Square

RINGASKIDDY 

N28 From junction at Warren’s Court to junction at Shamrock Place

Main Street

Martello Park

 
 
This is a great scheme. If you have any questions at all, please ring 021-4285058/4285557 or email paintschemebcmd@corkcoco.ie.

What’s next for Haulbowline Island?

Remediation of Haulbowline Island – or at least its partial remediation – was in the news yesterday:

The government had promised a “whole of island” approach to the remediation but now seems unable to decide which department is responsible for taking the project forward.

I was concerned about this last June and followed it up in the Council Chamber through a motion which you will find at this link: Motion.  The response from the Department to my motion is here: Response to motion.  (The highlighting is my own.)

Friends of the Irish Environment who had brought the European Commission to see the East Tip contamination in 2011 were also concerned. Their information is that survey work on the island had not merely found the remaining 11 hectares to be physically connected with the 9 hectares of the East Tip but also that the area around the steelworks factory site was that of greatest contamination on the island. They alerted the European Commission to the government’s “breach of promise” by not following through on remediation of either the steelworks factory site or the South Tip: EU_complaint_Haulbowline_full_1.05.18.  (Again, the highlightling is my own.)

Haulbowline is one of this country’s worst pollution legacies. That the government might address the clean-up of only the bit that is relevant to keeping Ireland out of trouble with the European Commission is disgusting, especially as lack of funding cannot be cited as an excuse. Whatever departments are passing the buck on this one need to sort it out fast and get on with it 😠

MY MOTION TO FULL COUNCIL ON THE COMPETENCIES OF AN BORD PLEANALA MEMBERS, 04 JULY 2018

“That planning legislation would be amended to require all members of An Bord Pleanála appointed by the Minister to be qualified in a planning or planning-related field and to have demonstrated long-standing experience and interest in the planning system.  This is to ensure that the Board can uphold its core function, i.e. to provide, in the interests of the common good, for proper planning and sustainable development”

An Bord Pleanála, the highest planning authority in the land, is responsible for the determination of appeals and other matters under the Planning & Development Act 2000.  This Act has one main purpose: to provide for proper planning and sustainable development in the interest of the common good.

One would imagine, therefore, that members of the Board would have a long-demonstrated expertise in planning, both by qualification and practice.  In fact though, this is not always the case.

The Board is made up of a chairperson appointed by the government and 9 ordinary Board members appointed by the Minister for the Environment.  Those 9 are selected from nominations from organisations prescribed in secondary legislation.  This appointments process is intended for the Board to represent a range of societal perspectives.   But the legislation is written in such a way that none of the Board members have to be planners.  Two members are to be chosen from prescribed organisations representative of professions in the fields of planning, engineering or architecture.  That is as close as it gets.  There are no qualifications as such for membership of the Board.  The prescribed bodies are given no statutory guidance regarding how to go about selecting their nominees.  In essence, the procedure for appointment of ordinary Board members is somewhat akin to the procedure for appointment of directors of state-sponsored bodies generally, in that the Minister is empowered to use his discretion as to whom he appoints.

The chairperson is not required to be a planner either.  A person nominated as chair must have “special knowledge and experience and other qualifications or personal qualities” which the appointing committee considers appropriate to enable them to effectively perform as the chair.  But the legislation doesn’t mention planning.

When the P&D Act was passed, we had a Board comprising a chair and 9 members all of whom had qualifications and experience in planning or architecture.  At present, we have a Board of whom 3 ordinary members is a planner and 1 is an architect.  That is 4 out of 10.  That is not to say that all members are not experts in their fields but it seems to me imperative that for the highest planning authority in the land, at least a majority would have an expertise in planning.

When the Board is deciding on a planning appeal, the quorum for a meeting is 2.  So it is entirely feasible that a decision is taken by two people who, although undoubtedly highly qualified in their own fields, are not planners.  Planning applications made under the Strategic Infrastructure Act go directly to the Board.  The Strategic Infrastructure Division of the Board comprises the Chair of the Board, the deputy Chair and 3 ordinary members.  A quorum for a meeting of the Strategic Infrastructure Division is 3.  So it is entirely feasible that for these generally big projects which can often have a long-term, significant impact on the neighbourhoods for which they are proposed, a decision on determining whether they are proper planning and sustainable development, can be taken in the absence of a planner.

Of course all Board decisions are informed by a planning inspector who will have examined the planning proposal in detail but the Board is at liberty to overturn the recommendation of that planning inspector.  The most recent high profile overturning of an Senior Planning Inspector’s recommendation by the Board was in the granting of planning permission to the proposed incinerator at Ringaskiddy.  In this case, the decision was taken was taken by 7 members of the Board, only 2 of whom are planners or architects.  The other two planners on the Board were excluded from taking part in any meetings pertaining to the application or to the final decision-making.

The Board is required to implement government policy but each proposal must be evaluated and considered in the context of proper planning and sustainable development.  To do that, it is critical that Board members would have qualifications and experience in planning or at the very least, be capable of demonstrating long-standing experience and interest in the planning field.  This request has been made previously by the Royal Town Planning Institute of Ireland, I echo it now and I ask that all Members would support me in that.

Draft bye-laws for the creation and regulation of appointed taxi stands in Douglas

In accordance with Section 25 of the Taxi Regulation Act, as amended, Cork County Council proposes to make Bye Laws for the creation and regulation of appointed stands in Douglas County Cork.

A copy of the draft Bye Laws is available for inspection at Floor 5, County Hall; Council Offices in Carrigaline and Douglas Library during normal working hours until 20th July 2018.  A copy of the draft Bye-Laws can be obtained from the Council Office on Floor 5 County Hall.  The draft bye-laws are also available at this link:

180106 Draft Douglas Appointed Stand Bye-Laws 2018

Representations in relation to the draft Bye Laws may be made in writing to the Municipal District Officer, Floor 5, County Hall, Cork, before 27th July 2018.

Submission/petition to Cork County Council re. proposed total closure of the R610 through Passage West

Ward and Burke are proposing two complete road closures in #PassageWest. The first is to lay the sewer in the road from Glenbrook Wharf – Lucia Place during July/August and the second is to lay it from the Town Hall – Oysterhaven Boats (ish) during September/October.  They say they need these closures to lay the sewer.  In addition to this, Ward and Burke already have permission to close the Back Road for July and other partial closures between Passage West, Glenbrook and Monkstown.

The presentation given by Ward & Burke to councillors on these proposed complete road closures is here:

Passage West Road Closure Presentation

The first road closure was advertised today.  Because it will have a significant effect on businesses, residents and travel, there is much concern about it.  The only opportunity to have these concerns heard and worked around is to make a submission to the road closure application.  A petition outlining those concerns has been distributed to the businesses today and will be collected on Tuesday for forwarding to Cork County Council.  The text of that petition is here:

Road closure submission

You can make your own submission to Cork County Council if you wish by emailing roadclosures@corkcoco.ie or by writing to Director of Services, Roads & Transportation, Cork County Council, The Courthouse, Skibbereen, Co. Cork.  The closing date for receipt of submissions is Wednesday, 20th June.  There is no fee for making the submission.

Planning permission granted to Indaver for incinerator in Ringaskiddy

This morning (31st May 2018), An Bord Pleanála granted Indaver Ireland planning permission to build an incinerator in Ringaskiddy to burn 240,000 tonnes of hazardous and non-hazardous waste each year.  This is the third planning application from Indaver for an incinerator on this site.  Each time, the people of Cork Harbour have fought to keep Indaver out of Cork Harbour.  Each time, against all odds, they have won.  This below is the link to today’s grant of planning from the Board.  In doing so, they followed a trend of overturning the recommendation of their Senior Planning Inspector. Every Planning Inspector who has scrutinised this or any of the previous planning applications has said that this is the wrong site for an incinerator.

We will fight on.

ABP decision, May 2018

Speech for Monkstown school’s fifth Green Flag achievement

I was so honoured and grateful to be asked to Scoil Barra Naofa, Monkstown today to raise their fifth Green Flag.  They were awarded this flag for more than a year of work on learning about, talking about and encouraging biodiversity.  It follows on their previous Green Flag achievements for Waste, Energy, Travel/Transport and Water.  The following is (more or less!) the little speech I gave to the wonderfully attentive children:

SBN Green Flag for Biodiversity