Notes from the Municipal District meeting, 15th September 2014

Present on behalf of CCC:
Kevin O’Regan (Municipal District Officer), Maurice Manning (Director of Services), Madeline Healy (Area Engineer)

Confirmation of Minutes

Proposed and seconded.

Consideration of Reports and Recommendations:
a)  Municipal District Services Report September 2014.

  • Community Funding
  • Recreation and Amenity
  • Derelict Sites

A comprehensive report was given to the Members on the above.

Cllr D’Alton asked if there was any way the Marmullane tennis club site in Passage West could be worked with by the County Council and the community together.  She said that although she appreciates that it is going to tender, the community could help in looking for funds to enable the project to go ahead.

Maurice Manning clarified that funding will be provided for the Marmullane site development to go ahead in the County Council’s 2015 Capital Works Programme :-))

b)  Update on Greenways
A greenway is a walking and cycling path.  Essentially a shared use path.  The concept is very well established in Europe and the US but has only recently been introduced to Ireland.  They tend to be developed along former railway lines or canal towpaths.  They tend to act for tourism, provide local amenity and facilitate commuting to work/school.

The benefits of greenways are that they are safe, provide for social interaction, and amenity.  They are best evidenced in Mayo where a 42 km greenway has been developed running from Westport to  Achill Island.  There have been many offshoot benefits of this development and it was these that inspired Cork County Council to look at greenways for our county.

In Cork, feasibility reports were undertaken.  The County Council looked at the West Cork railway network first.  Also looked at greenways in the context of the harbour and in particular linking up the Rochestown – Passage West cyclepath with the one between Carrigaline and Crosshaven.

For greenways to be really successful, they need route length.  They also need a branded entity so that people from abroad/Ireland will see Cork Harbour as a destination, rather than honing in on Passage West or Carrigaline as a discrete location.

The County Council is now looking at greenways in a more strategic way around the harbour.  Maybe it would be possible to link from Glenbrook to Cobh.  Links like this haven’t been thought about  before.  They would improve commuting and would help tourism.

The Glenbrook – Raffeen Bridge stretch doesn’t represent a full phase.  So the County Council is trying to look at the practicalities of developing out further from Raffeen Bridge to create a full phase.

Funding is an issue.  The County Council did apply for funding last year but were unsuccessful.  The Department gave a substantial amount of money to a small number of projects.  The y are trying to work on the reasons the funding application was not successful.  They are also trying to also look at alternative funding streams, such as Europe.

This is just a broad brush overview of where we are at the moment.

Cllr D’Alton (Ind):  Could the Glenbrook – Raffeen segment extend to Ringaskiddy to create a full phase?  As there are already footpaths and grass verges in place along the N28, it seems to be simpler to achieve than the link to Carrigaline.

Cllr McGrath (FF):  Asked whether the Ringaskiddy leg was included in the initial feasibility study.

Claire Cronin:  It is a very definite possibility that the link to Ringaskiddy could be considered as to create a full phase.  The feasibility study sought to link directly to Carrigaline.  There was just a piece included at the end of the document about potentially linking up to Ringaskiddy.  We need to see what the site specific issues are and whether the route is viable.  The County Council hope in the next couple of weeks to engage with the NRA and the NTA.   This will give a feel of their appetite for this Ringaskiddy link pending the N28 question.  So the County Council will have a clearer idea then.

Replies to Notices of Motion

1.  Douglas Pay Parking Bye Laws

Kevin O’Regan:  The report sent to the Members indicates the position.  The CPG decided to refer the motion to the SPC with a request that all-county parking bye-laws would be advanced rapidly to reach a conclusion by December.

Cllr D’Alton (Ind):  This is simply not good enough.  Douglas is a special case where no leniency is shown to those parking.  December is too late.  This means the Douglas traders will lose out on Christmas business.  Businesses will close and that is our responsibility.

Maurice Manning:  Appreciates that Members are very anxious to see this addressed but as the CPG has referred it to the SPC, there is nothing can be done at present.

Cllr O’Laoghaire:  Thinks it will be difficult to come up with a county-wide policy.  We must remember that the legislation says that if the SPC cannot agree on a policy, the issue will revert once again to the municipal district.

Cllr Harris:  We haven’t the luxury of time.  Committees like the SPC take months to draw up policy.  The businesses are just not happy.  We’re actually going to be penny wise and pound foolish.  Losses of rates from the businesses after they close will be well in excess of what the County Council is getting in pay parking.

Cllr Canty:  Cannot see how we will agree to a system of pay parking right across the county.  Towns like Macroom were getting a spin-back from their pay parking to Christmas lights or whatever in the Town Council days.  The traffic warden in Ballincollig also acts as a litter warden.  Cannot see that will change and he will be holding the line on that one.  But he agrees with what Douglas is saying.

Cllr McGrath:  This was my motion in July.  Wants to register serious disappointment that the CPG didn’t see fit to advance changes.  Is part of the CPG and was at the meeting.  The weight of argument put forward by the CE swayed the rest of the Members there.  Achieved a deadline that it would be reported back by December.  Appreciates it is too long for the businesses.  Unfortunately that is the position that we are in.  There wasn’t adequate support from the other Members in the face of the arguments put forward by the CE.  Thinks it is impossible to formulate a county-wide policy.  This all came about from a motion that Cllr Boyle and himself had some time ago.  That motion went into the SPC to buy time.  Local businesses seem to be coming more vocal on the issue and that is a good thing.  Also good that Members in the municipal district support a change in Douglas parking policy.

Cllr Desmond (FF):  Was very vocal on this issue the last time.  Very disappointed that it has been referred to the SPC.  Douglas is paying the price.  It’s taken 10 months to not have an answer.  If a decision isn’t made, how quickly can we take action at municipal district level?

Maurice Manning:  Wasn’t at the CPG meeting either.  If it is agreed that the SPC will report back in December, suggests we take a decision in January.  Agrees that it may not be possible to have a county-wide parking regime.  Even at the CPG there were disparate proposals for how pay parking might operate.

Cllr D’Alton (Ind):  How long do we leave it if we do not hear back by December?  We cannot have a situation such as we had before where it dragged on and on without a conclusion.

Cllr McGrath (FF):  Was positively a clear commitment from SPC to come back in December.  Won’t tolerate slippage on that.  Clear that changes won’t be in before Christmas even if the SPC does report back.  Suggests that there would be a relaxation of the pay parking rules around the Christmas period in Douglas as is done in the city if Members would be supportive.

Cllr Canty (FG):  Could a letter be sent to the Chair of the SPC outlining our concerns?

Cllr D’Alton:  If support is being sought for Cllr McGrath’s suggestion then I support it fully and suggest that the relaxation would be in place for the month of December and at least from the 8th December.

2.  Disused poles in Shanbally

Kevin O’Regan:  We did get response from Eircom but not from the ESB.  The response from Eircom was circulated to Members.

To consider the following Notices of Motion in the name of

Cllr D Forde:
The Council install a pedestrian crossing from the Chapel Steps to St Columba’s Church, Church Road, to facilitate the many residents who need safe access to and from church on this very busy road.

As Cllr Forde was not at the meeting, the Area Engineer will talk directly with her about this.

Cllr D Canty:
That a member of the National Transport authority or Bus Eireann attend this meeting in relation to the new bus service for Ballincollig/Carrigaline, Crosshaven.

Cllr Canty: The main reason he proposed this motion is that we are all looking for improved bus services but from what he can see, the bus service from Ballincollig/Carrigaline/Crosshaven is detrimental to everyone at the moment.  It was going into Parnell Place.  Now with the new orbital service, the bus from Ballincollig will go down the South Mall, it stops at the Imperial Hotel and have to walk to Parnell Place.  For the elderly or those who have luggage, that is not easy.  If you take the bus from Crosshaven, you get off at George’s Quay or the City Library.

Everyone was looking for an improved bus service and we thought we were getting one, but no.  Knows we have a later bus service at night, but the bus service during the day is on the hour and the half hour.  It is not working.  The bus service that used to go to the CUH now no longer does either.  You have to get off at the Rendezvous and walk to the CUH.

The bus coming down Carrigrohane is now defunct also.  It goes down the Model Farm Road stopping at every stop.

In the old days, the bus driver/CIE could tell if the bus was full and if a second was needed because all the buses left Parnell Square.  Now that is not possible.

Asking the NTA/Bus Eireann to outline to us who came up with this bold idea that buses will no longer go to Parnell Square.

Also on longer route bus services, priority is given to passengers travelling further away.  The Macroom bus no longer picks up people from Ballincollig; it furthers those going to further away, saying that the Ballincollig bus is for Ballincollig people.

In Dublin, they have 5 modes of public transport.

McGrath (FF):  Supports Cllr Canty’s motion.  There certainly are issues which have arisen arising from these changes.  Would appreciate if someone from Bus Eireann came to speak to us about it.  The Passage West bus also now stops at South Mall.

Kevin O’Regan:  Will write to the NTA and to the Regional Manager and ask them to attend the next meeting.

Cllr S McGrath:
i.  That the Engineer consider providing a safe Crossing near the entrance to Herons Wood, Carrigaline, in the vicinity of the northbound bus stop.

McGrath (FF):  It was brought to his attention since the schools started back that it is virtually impossible for children to try to cross the road at this location.  Wondering if some provision can be put in place to assist them.  Could we maybe do something in the shorter and longer term?  Knows a pedestrian crossing is expensive, but maybe signage or uncontrolled pedestrian crossing would be possible?

Madeline Healy:  One of the biggest problems is finding a suitable location between the house entrances.  Funding is also a problem.  Can look at dishing the kerbs if we can find a suitable location.

Cllr Canty:  Isn’t there a process where schools will go 50:50 on flashing lights to facilitate a safe crossing?  Parents committees would be very forthcoming to help in a situation such as this.

Madeline Healy:  This is a system that is in place for funding pedestrian crossings adjacent to schools.  But this is adjacent to a large housing estate where children take the bus at a stop beside head of the estate into the city to attend different schools.

ii.  That members receive a full report on the Maryborough Hill Green Route works and that an Engineer be present to answer members’ questions

Niall O’Callaghan attended and circulated a report.  He read through the report.

Cllr McGrath (FF):  Shame that the lane restriction wasn’t done in the summer months.  Very unfortunate that difficulties have arisen in the project and delays will be encountered at this time of year.  Doesn’t think traffic management will work.  Will be serious issues.  All buses on the Carrigaline to Ballincollig route go on Maryborough Hill.  Appreciates structural issues caused delay.

Cllr Desmond (FF):  Asks whether the existing bus lane could be opened to traffic – the bus route is half hourly.  Could this lane be used to alleviate the build up of traffic?

Niall O’Callaghan:  There are only two lanes on the section that needs to be worked on.  Piling will involve using one full lane.  Doesn’t think using the bus lane will be required to relieve the build up of traffic.

Cllr D’Alton (Ind):  Appreciates the report but doesn’t understand why these difficulties occurred in the middle of the project.  Would have thought it was normal practice to have undertaken ground investigations and sorted out CPO issues in advance of the works going to tender.  Why did the works have to be stopped mid-stream because of these issues?

Niall O’Callaghan:  When the contractor arrived on site and designed temporary works, the contractor found it difficult to construct the designed wall in a safe manner.  Possible solution couldn’t be found.  All avenues were exhausted.  Didn’t want to do traffic management.  But retaining wall had to be safe, so had to do contiguous pile solution.

CPO also unfortunate.  Due to administrative difficulty with landowner.  May have to go down CPO route in due course.

Cllr O’Laoghaire:  Administrative difficulty?

Niall O’Callaghan:  A banking issue was involved.  Contract documents were tied up.  It has been difficult to go beyond this.

iii. That members be fully updated on the Ballybrack Phase 2 project and proposed works at Cherrygarth / Bracken Court

Valerie Fenton:  CCC had had much correspondence in relation to this scheme. The background is that a proposal for a cycling strategy for the proposed Cork Metropolitan area was produced in 2013.  This strategy was complementary to the City Council’s cycling strategy and Douglas LUTS.  Its primary objective is to facilitate commuting cyclists.  Schemes are off-road so safe and suitable for school-going children.

The Scheme Part 8 started at Church Road and came out at Calderwood Road (1.5k).  Approval was granted in Sept 2013.

Phase 1 of the scheme has been open to the public since April 2014.  This started at Church Road and came out at the Maxol station on Donnybrook Hill.

Phase 2/3: 1k length 4 m wide shared surface.  Starts to the east of the Maxol station and runs on into Cherrygarth Estate.  Will include 2 new river crossing.  Is at detailed design stage at present.  To be complete by end 2014.  Need to get funding from NTA to advance construction of the project.

The open space design element of the project arose because over the years CCC had been told about illegal dumping on this open space.  During the course of discussing the Phased Use scheme, the issue of dumping was raised again.  So CCC thought that the address of the open space could be addressed at the same time and hopefully minimise the behaviour.

The open space element of the project was to clear the scrubland and weave a cycle route/pedestrian path through the clearing/public lighting for cycle route.  CCC wants to proceed with this scheme subject to approval from residents and members.  CCC is in contact with residents associations about the development and about maintenance.

Cllr McGrath:  Phase 1 is a fantastic job.  Concerned about Bracken Court and Cherrygarth.  Residents weren’t given the opportunity to take part in the design of the open space because there was no Part 8 for it.  Residents from Bracken Court are attending this meeting.  Some have serious concerns about it.  There were issues of anti-social behaviour in the past.  This has improved in recent times.  Residents are concerned that works may bring back anti-social behaviour.  Gardai say that there are issues of anti-social behaviour on the lower part of the Phased Use scheme and residents are concerned that there may be similar issues in Bracken Court.  Maintenance is also a problem.  Residents find it hard to maintain what they have already got.  Asks that there would be a formal structure put in place for consultation.  Funding won’t be allocated until next year anyway, so we have time on our hands.

Cllr O’Laoghaire:  Consultation is the key point.  Were ongoing issues with dumping over many years.  Always a concern that similar issues may become an issue again.  Also issue with resources for gardai.

Cllr Desmond:  Valerie very open to consultation on this project.  Thinks we should do more consultation.

Cllr Harris:  Aware of the benefits of Part 8 but also has its drawbacks.  Residents are often not aware of it.  Upsurge of antisocial behaviour.

Cllr D’Alton:  Agrees with Cllr Harris about Part 8.  It is ironic but often when a scheme goes for Part 8, it is considered that public consultation is done when the site notice goes up.  It is assumed that anyone who is interested will comment.  Often local residents don’t see the site notice.  It just becomes part of the furniture.  In this instance, there is no Part 8 but the Council is very interested in consulting directly.  This is to be welcomed and the more round-table consultation there can be, the better.

Valerie Fenton:  Is working with a few interested individuals in Bracken Court on consultation.  Very open to meeting Bracken Court representatives.  Already working well with Cherrygarth Residents Association.

It was agreed that residents of Bracken Court would meet with Valerie Fenton in an informal way.

Cllr O’Laoghaire:
That Cork County Council recognises the significant development which has occurred in the Lehenaghmore, Lehenaghbeg areas in the past 10-15 years, with significant numbers of new estates, and a corresponding increase in population;

That much of this development has taken place without the appropriate Local Infrastructure being in place prior to such development, that it is still absent, and that this has caused significant issues of Public Safety, for Pedestrians in particular, and also leading to accessibility issues;

That there are further lands in this vicinity zoned for Development, and that there is the possibility that even more Housing will be created there in coming years.

And therefore commits to ensuring that these infrastructural issues are resolved as a matter of priority, and in particular commits to addressing

  • The absence of Street Lighting on Lehenaghmore, in particular from the City Bounds Bar uphill
  • The almost complete absence of footpaths on the Lehenaghbeg side of the Hill, and the absence of Street lighting from key parts of it
  • And seeking to resolve the absence of Public Transport Links in cooperation with Bus Éireann.

Cllr O’Laoghaire:  Large housing estates gone in in Lehanaghmore.  It is not possible to walk from these estates, despite the fact that an excellent new sports facility has gone in.  Kids walk from Togher up the hill – very unsafe.  Huge amounts of pedestrian use.  Some residents in Matthew Hill feel isolated.  Also issues of speeding on Lehenaghbeg side.  Is a massive issue for the residents living there because it is going on so long.  Been in contact with residents there who believed it was Council policy to have footpaths from Forge Hill up Lehanaghbeg.  Initially planning permission was refused to one of these estates because of the lack of infrastructure.  Several years later, plans were enhanced and planning was granted.  Residents cannot leave the car at home even to go to the pub.  These are built up areas close to not merely CCC but also to Cork City Council.  The Ballyphenane bus comes nearby and would probably be the easiest way to solve the bus problem.  This is an area where people feel isolated and left behind.  It is going on more than 10 – 15 years and is zoned for further development.  Many houses in Coolkellure have not yet been occupied.  The issue of this infrastructural deficit needs to be resolved as soon as possible.

Cllr McGrath:  Fully supports Cllr O’Laoghaire on this issue.  This is the one area in our constituency where there is an enormous infrastructural deficit.  Residents are quite rightly feeling very aggrieved.  Has been working on this over the years and a report on what is necessary has been prepared in the past.  Tom Stritch says funding is not in place to deal with the plan.  Very disappointing.  Very urgent need for the scheme to progress.  Much of the preparatory work has been done in relation to Lehanaghbeg.  Asks that Maurice Manning would try to secure funding.

Cllr Harris:  Supports motion.  Major health and safety issue here.

Cllr D’Alton:  Very strongly supports the motion.  Thinks Lehanaghmore represents the worst planning excesses of the Celtic Tiger era where houses were built without infrastructure.  The lack of infrastructure is also completely contrary so many policies of  CCC.   CCC says that it cannot build sufficient roads to accommodate all cars so it is encouraging people to walk, cycle and take the bus.  People in Lehanaghmore cannot go anywhere without taking the car.  It is essential that this is addressed.

Cllr Desmond:  This place has been completely overlooked.  Speaking to a lot of people there who have one car because of the recession.  You can’t get in and out of any of those estates without a car.  Speeding on the hill is a major issue.  Doing nothing is not an option for us.  It is no mans land.

Cllr Canty:  Won’t repeat everything that has been said but the buck stops here with the planning department.  We have raised it over years.  They get planning permission, build their footpaths to both sides of the entrance of the estate with no connectivity to existing footpaths.  Builders need to connect the footpath to existing footpaths.  Could have been development charges in that era.  Money could still be in the pot.  Development charges could play a huge role in putting this infrastructure in place.

Kevin O’Regan:  A scheme to address this has been drawn up by non-national roads design office.  It was costed at €2m and would involve CPO.  CCC does not have money to do this.

Maurice Manning:  There is an understanding that there is an issue here that needs to be resolved.  But there simply isn’t that sort of money there.  Would suggest that we look at the 2015 budget and see what capital budget is available.

Cllr O’Laoghaire:  Thanks the other councillors for their support and comments which added to the case.  Cllrs McGrath, Forde and Boyle all raised this in the local area in the past and he acknowledges this.  Understands there is a funding problem.  There is potential for further development in Lehanaghmore and it is a shame not to capitalise on this potential for a lack of essential infrastructure.  Also assumes it would not be costing €2m to put in street lighting.  Could this as a minimum be costed with a view to installation?


Cllr Canty: Thanks Peter O’Donoghue and Madeline Healy for removing the traffic lights from the main street of Ballincollig.

Cllr McGrath:
1.  Street sweeper comes during rush hour and afterwards in Carrigaline so cannot do its job properly.  Could it come in the earlier hours of the morning.  This was a request of Carrigaline Tidy Towns.

2.  Maryborough Hill – residents concerned that the edge of the road has become unsightly with weeds.

3.  Togher – lower part of Spur Hill.  Has had a request for a pedestrian crossing at the bottom of Spur Hill.  Was told previously there was no funding to do this.  Residents live on one side and facilities on the other.  Can we keep pushing for this or at least for an uncontrolled crossing.

Cllr Harris:  Traffic lights beyond Woollen Mills in Douglas going into town.  Traffic builds up there – lights are red a lot.  Could sequencing be looked at?  Traffic backs up Donnybrook Hill and the congestion seems to be originating at these traffic lights.

Madeline Healy:  There is nothing wrong with the lights.  Has been asked this many times.  Backup is due to just sheer volume of traffic.  Backs up all the way to Scart Cross.  Just the am peak.  For the restof the day, there is no problem.

Cllr O’Laoghaire has brought up this crossing with her also.  Funding is an issue here.  Road width is quite wide going up Spur Hill so you are looking at putting in a central median to slow traffic down.  Costs are large.  If you try to bring the crossing close to the roundabout, many think that it is not safe because the roundabout is small.  Also the locating of the spot for the crossing is tricky.  As in Heronswood, there is simply no available space.  So it is safer to push it back up to the wider section of the road but the costs are big.  Intends to get a proper design so that the project would be shovel-ready should funding become available.

With regard to weeds on Maryborough Hill, the maintenance budget will never be sufficient to deal with this.  In addition, kerb weed has been worse than ever this year because growth has been phenomenal.  We will work with the municipal district going forward to tackle these issues.  But what we have available to spend on maintenance will never be enough.

Cllr McGrath:  As some of the issue seems to be related to dirt on the side of the road, could the sweeper be sent up there?

Madeline Healy:  Agrees that would be possible.

Cllr D’Alton:  Firstly wants to thank the Area Office and Madeline in particular for having worked with us to seeing our Community Fund project in Passage West to completion.  We are extremely grateful and relieved that it is complete.  Also wants to note that the issue of kerb weed and its maintenance is something that residents associate very closely with CCC.  So it is important that we address it insofar as possible.  Years ago it used to be looked after by a contractor with a quad bike.  Doesn’t know whether this represents better value than having the Area Office crew address it.  But whichever, suggests that this municipal district would try to set aside a specific budget to ensure that this is addressed at least on the main roads next year.  Will bring this forward as an official motion to the next Municipal District meeting.

Madeline Healy:  If the Area Office has a budget for this, it will be done.