Cork suburban rail project wins Irish planning award

PLANS to develop a new commuter railway station on Cork’s northside have been approved.

The station, to be built just outside Blackpool, is a key part of the suburban rail network element of the 2001-2020 Cork Area Strategic Plan (CASP), which won a national planning award on Thursday.

Cork County Council took the Irish Planning Institute’s (IPI) Planning Achievement Award for its work on developing a suburban rail network around the city as part of CASP.

Work has started on the reopening of the Cork to Midleton rail line — the first new railway line to open in Ireland for more than 100 years.

And within the last few days, city planners have given Iarnród Eireann permission to build another commuter station on the site of the former Kilbarry station off Dublin Hill, on the Dublin-Cork railway line.

The station will include a 100-space park and ride facility and stands for 20 bicycles.

Competition judges said the council’s rail plans — which also includes commuter rail stations at Monard near Blarney and at Glounthane — will result “in the revitalisation of a number of key towns and villages while promoting the move to more sustainable modes of transport”.

CASP coordinator Dan Looney welcomed the award. But while the railway caught the public imagination, he said a lot of other work has taken place.

There has been massive investment in rail infrastructure, such as increased train frequencies on the Cork to Dublin inter-city route and suburban services like Cork to Cobh. There are also plans to build park and ride facilities at Dunkettle and Carrigrohane, he said.

The council’s rail project now goes forward as Ireland’s entry in the European Planning Awards, which will be hosted by the IPI in Dublin Castle in October.

IPI president Andrew Hind said the awards were “a celebration of all that is best in Irish planning”.

The county council also won a conservation award for the Guidance Note for the Appraisal of Historic Gardens, Demesnes, Estates and their Settings.

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