CLAIMS have been made that drivers will not use a proposed new motorway service station because it was too close to Cork city.
A Bord Pleanála oral hearing into the €800 million Cork-Limerick motorway (M20) heard yesterday the only service station currently planned for the entire 80km route would be built at Lissard East, between Mourneabbey and Rathduff – just 19km from Cork.
Solicitor Joe Noonan, who represents a number of people living in the Lissard East area, told Bord Pleanála inspector Danny O’Connor that hungry motorists were far more likely to head into Blackpool where they could avail of the likes of Dino’s Restaurant or McDonalds.
He said the motorway planners had envisaged there would be three or possibly four service stations built along the 200km Atlantic Corridor motorway, which will eventually connect Cork with Galway. The M20 will form part of that route.
Mr Noonan said ideally such service stations should be positioned around 60km apart and it made absolutely no sense to locate one of them so near Cork city.
“People starting their journey in Cork are hardly likely to stop at Lissard East and I doubt if people heading to Cork will stop there either,” Mr Noonan said.
Eileen McCarthy, associate director of Arup consulting engineers, who are acting for the motorway planners, said another service station had been planned for the junction of the M17/M18 near Oranmore, Co Galway.
However, she said that this had previously been refused planning permission by Bord Pleanála.
She said if demand was there it was likely that service stations would be built somewhere between Charleville and Croom and also near Ennis.
But Ms McCarthy said it may be some years before they would be constructed and only if there was a demand.
Meanwhile, a widow told day five of the oral hearing how the proposed motorway was suddenly shifted to within 60 metres of her home and how she felt “insulted” when she was offered just €2,500 in compensation.
Goretti O’Regan, who lives at Liscullane, Charleville, said that when plans for the proposed M20 were first unveiled the road was at least a football pitch length away from her home, which she didn’t mind.
However, several months later she discovered it had been shifted much closer to her home and she hadn’t been notified about the change by the NRA or Cork County Council.
Ms O’Regan said the motorway was now just 60m from the gable end of the rural house she bought 34 years ago.
She said there was a 20 acre field on the far side of the proposed road and couldn’t understand why that wasn’t being used.
“It will have a gross impact on me. The council offered €2,500 as a goodwill gesture, but I regard that as an insult,” she told Mr O’Connor.
Ms O’Regan added that a 30ft high embankment would be built by her home to accommodate the motorway and this would obscure her view of the Ballyhoura Mountains.
Cork County Council representatives told the hearing that they had shifted the road because they didn’t want to sever adjoining agricultural land.
The hearing continues at the Charleville Park Hotel.
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