'Huge compromise' on My Carlow plan as pedestrianisation of Potato Market is deferred

The Council will seek to minimise the loss of on-street parking on Upper Tullow Street

Darren Hassett

Reporter:

Darren Hassett

Email:

news@carlowlive.ie

Carlow Carlow Carlow

Proposals for pedestrianisation of Potato Market to be deferred

There has been "huge compromise" on the My Carlow plan, a councillor has said, as the pedestrianisation of Potato Market is deferred and a one-way system on Upper Tullow Street is scrapped.

The plans for works on Upper Tullow Street are now expected to go out to public consultation in the coming months and Carlow County Council has said they will endeavour to "minimize the loss of on-street car parking spaces".  

The works on the street involve re-design and public realm enhancement, to include footpaths, road surface, street furniture and landscaping. 

Over 295 submissions were received during the public consultation process after the plan to enhance the Town Centre was launched in May of this year.  

A Council report on the public consultation and submissions received stated that "in light of the various submissions including from a number of local businesses, it is now suggested that the proposal for Potato Market be reviewed" as part of a wider "consolidated" Masterplan for the Town Centre. 

This is being done to consider maintaining a vehicular entrance into Carlow Shopping Centre and the provision of a one-way, shared surface design with possible time restrictions for traffic entering the area.

The Masterplan process will be informed by the analysis, consultations, findings and proposals arising from the My Carlow process to-date and will include further consultation.

This recommended process will seek to comply with the current national Urban Regeneration initiatives, including the Project Ireland 2040 Urban Regeneration funding call, for which the Council will submit the Masterplan process.

If successful in securing funding, this process will commence in January 2019, for completion by June 2019 at the latest, to allow for application of the next capital round of funding.

There will also be no one-way system introduced on Upper Tullow Street despite it being tested and models demonstrating that there "would be no significant effect on traffic flows or junction capacities arising from the proposed change". 

The report added: "Following the public consultation process, it is clear that the business community is opposed to any decrease in the number of on-street car-parking spaces."

Specifically, in relation to Upper Tullow Street, there are currently 41 on-street parking spaces available.

The original My Carlow Plan proposal would have reduced this to 24.

A letter from the Council chief executive, Kathleen Holohan, to members of Carlow County Council and seen by Carlow Live, said: "Arising from consideration of the submissions, a number of key themes and issues have arisen.

"The Council is cognisant of the points raised by the various stakeholders and accordingly, to summarize the responses outlined in attached report, I recommend as follows:

1. Plan Remit and Extent - That a more comprehensive consolidated Masterplan be prepared, which will identify specific development projects and bring forward a series of optimum streetscape layouts and proposals for the greater Carlow Town Centre, to include other locations not included in the 'My Carlow brief, such as Dublin Street, Castle Street, College Street, Shamrock Square, etc.

The Masterplan will be informed by the analysis, consultations, findings and proposals arising from the ‘My Carlow process to-date and will include further consultation. This recommended process will seek to comply with the current national Urban Regeneration initiatives, including the Project Ireland 2040 Urban Regeneration funding call, for which the Council will submit the Masterplan process. If successful in securing funding, this process will commence in January 2019, for completion by June 2019 at the latest, to allow for application of the next capital round of funding

2. Barrack Street Derelict Properties - The proposal to eliminate dereliction and possible creation of connectivity between the Fair Green, Barrack Street, Tullow Street and Potato Market, in the 'My Carlow' Plan, was welcomed by all. Part of the Ireland 2040 funding application, will include the requirement for engagement of a specialist team to prepare a site specific high-quality Designer Led Brief for the elimination of dereliction through development of the site and creation of possible pedestrian connectivity at this specific location. The team engaged will, in addition to preparation of design brief, set the framework and oversee, on behalf of Carlow County Council, a public call for the submission of 'Initial Expressions of Interest, from potential developers/interested parties, for the redevelopment of the whole or part of the site, comprising of derelict properties, currently in the ownership of Carlow County Council. The objective being to proceed with development of the site at the earliest possible date

3. Upper Tullow Street - It is recommended not to proceed with the proposal to introduce a one-way system on Upper Tullow Street and that the Council:

(a) Proceed with interim surface remediation works required on Upper Tullow Street, as committed, following completion of the Watermain Rehabilitation Programme by Irish Water and

(b) Continue work on proposals for Upper Tullow Street, for re-design and public realm enhancement works, to include footpaths, road surface, street furniture and landscaping on Upper Tullow Street, in consultation with the elected members of the Municipal District of Carlow, with a view to commencing the Statutory Part VIII planning process, which includes Public Consultation, in the first quarter of 2019. Whilst recognizing the requirements of DMURS (Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets), the Council will seek to minimize the loss of on-street car parking spaces

4. Potato Market, Kennedy Avenue, Fair Green and Barrack Street (part of) - Traffic Management and Public Realm Proposals for these locations to be deferred, pending completion of Masterplan and further collaboration, as outlined in 1. above

5. Town Centre Rejuvenation

(a) Following completion of recent recruitment process, the Council is appointing an Economic

Development Officer for the Carlow Town Project, who will take up the post in early October and will work with the recently established Carlow Town Development Forum, elected members and various stakeholders, on the common goal of strengthening the Town Centre offering, exploring new opportunities and generating a thriving Town Centre to maximize visitor footfall, increase spending and ultimately offer customer choice and satisfaction. The Economic Development Officer will report bi-monthly to the elected members of the Municipal District of Carlow, commencing with the November Meeting.

(b) The reuse and occupancy of existing units and privately owned derelict properties throughout the Town Centre will remain a primary objective in the overall rejuvenation of the town. Improvements in the presentation of privately owned properties cannot be achieved without the co-operation of property owners/landlords. The Council, in collaboration with the various stakeholders, will review the tools available to activate the marketplace, with initiatives such as the Vacant Property Start Up Incentive Grant Scheme, Paint Scheme Grants, Online Trading Voucher Grant Scheme, Parking Initiatives, Retail Festivals, etc."

At this month's meeting of Carlow County Council, Cllr Walter Lacey said there "has been huge compromise" to the My Carlow plan and "everything was listened to".

Cllr Ken Murnane said: "90% of what traders wanted has been met."

The Council will now put the Upper Tullow Street works out to public consultation and kick-start the central Government funding stream for the "six/seven core projects" and staff resources and a consultancy team. 

The local authority also intends on making the deadline for funding in June of next year to allow for application of the next capital round of funding.

Cllr Fintan Phelan said the reports were a road map of where we're going and he added: "I want to see plans and drawings here. I'm not sure what's to approve here."

Cllr John Cassin welcomed that the local authority weren't rushing.