Cork County Council has been urged to set aside a special budget to reduce green areas in housing estates for more parking spaces and to widen entrance roads to provide proper access for emergency services.
With a growing number of adult children moving back in with their parents because of huge rent and mortgage increases, the number of cars parked in housing estates is rising all the time.
Fine Gael councillor Noel McCarthy has, on several occasions, told council officials this had led to tensions between neighbours who had previously lived in harmony for many years.
Cars cluttering estate roads have also caused access problems for fire brigades, ambulances and gardaí trying to enter them in emergencies.
Councillors have backed a call by Sinn Féin councillor Eoghan Jeffers for a fund to be set up to reduce the size of green spaces in estates to tackle these problems.
He referred to the housing crisis causing more stay-at-home adults and cases in estates where the proliferation of parked cars were causing difficulties for emergency service access.
Mr Jeffers said the problems were more acute in older estates, many of which had lots of unutilised green space which could be used for road widening and extra car parking spaces.
Jim Molloy, a director of council services, reported that the current procedure for the retrofitting/improving parking in publicly-maintained estates and streets, is that residents should write to the relevant Municipal District Officer (MDO) outlining support for the proposal.
He said the MDO then discusses the request with the local engineer to assess the feasibility and cost of implementing the request. Should the request be deemed deliverable, it is then added to the works list for the area.
Mr Molloy said a similar process is carried out for the allocation of disabled parking spaces, with the primary difference being that the application is on behalf of the person requiring the space.
“With regard to improving access for emergency vehicles, such requests normally come from the emergency services,” he said. “However, if the community has a concern re access this would again require that the community writes to the relevant MDO. In this situation, however, it is generally the case that access is inhibited by parking. It also often the case that the only option is to remove parking as there is no scope to widen the road.”