Public in the loop on Buttevant street works

It was once dubbed by locals as the worst-maintained street in Ireland.

To compound matters, residents were kept in the dark about planned developments to upgrade Buttevant’s main street.

However, senior officials with Cork County Council have now vowed that dialogue between contractors, local public representatives, and members of the community will improve.

Works on a section of the €2.47m upgrade of the main street — part of the main Cork-Limerick road — had been delayed due to the discovery, during excavations, of the remains of a 17th century house.

The house’s foundations in the famed walled town had been constructed in the early 1300s by the Normans.

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They were found in a 5m by 5m test trench dug by archaeologists who are now carrying out further exploratory work on the site.

While locals welcomed the much-needed streetscape upgrade and the need to explore their town’s history, businesspeople raised concerns about apparent hold-ups in the project.

They also expressed disquiet about the lack of information on what parts of the main street were going to be dug up — and when.

Some business people maintained that they were having to put staff on short-time, or lay them off altogether, because of the disruption.

In the past few years, many vehicles have been damaged by the undulating street.

Concerns of locals were relayed to officials by members of the county council’s Northern Division.

Cllr John Paul O’Shea (Ind) said he realised, in Buttevant’s case, “there would be no gain without pain”. However, with a resident engineer now appointed by the council to watch over the NRA-driven project and oversee the work, there should be better liaison between officialdom, councillors, and locals.

He suggested councillors are given a briefing at their monthly meetings in Mallow about the progress of works.

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Cllr Dan Joe Fitzgerald (FF) said he had personally received updates on the project and what works would be done in advance, but expressed concern that the work could be done much faster if it was also carried out at nights and weekends — which was not the current case.

“I sympathise with local businesses because there is no doubt they will suffer a lot because of the disruption. I would also urge that work is undertaken done outside normal trading hours,” he said. “And, in the meantime, maintaining dialogue with the locals is also very important.”

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Wesley O’ Regan is the General Manager of Popscene in Voodoo Rooms, Cork city. Popscene opened last November and is Cork’s only themed bar that is dedicated to celebrating the best of the 80s and 90s. https://www.facebook.com/PopsceneCork/You've Been Served: Wesley O'Regan, Popscene

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