Cork County Council chiefs planning more pedestrian zones to help towns re-open

Plans are to be put in place to provide more pedestrianised areas in 23 towns in Co Cork to help businesses to reopen and allow for social distancing.
Cork County Council chiefs planning more pedestrian zones to help towns re-open

Dave Dennehy, Cork City Council washing down the pavement during a deep clean of Oliver Plunkett Street, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan
Dave Dennehy, Cork City Council washing down the pavement during a deep clean of Oliver Plunkett Street, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan

Plans are to be put in place to provide more pedestrianised areas in 23 towns in Co Cork to help businesses to reopen and allow for social distancing.

Deep-cleaning is also to take place in the towns. All municipal district councils will hold meetings this week to come up with plans to help their businesses and communities adapt to relaxing Covid-19 restrictions.

Cork County Council chief executive Tim Lucey said the local authority wants to help “attract footfall into towns, but in a safe manner” and it also wants people to shop local and support businesses which have had to either close completely or operate with significantly reduced revenue.

“Cork County Council wishes to work proactively with business, retail, community and event-organising sectors in each town to plan for and work collaboratively on reactivating local economies and building resilience and confidence in our future.” Mr Lucey said.

He added that the council will provide a “focused programme of measures” targeted at supporting the Small and Medium Enterprise sector through its Local Enterprise Offices and its Economic and Tourism Development Department.

Mr Lucey said the council will come up with a specific set of measures “aimed at refreshing the appearance of our main towns".

“It is critical that areas are made more attractive and user-friendly,” he said. The chief executive said from next Monday, council officials will work with businesses, community group, tidy towns organisations and those representing the elderly in each of the towns.

He said it is essential the council puts specific arrangements in place for older people, ensuring life is as normal as possible for them.

James Murphy-Stout with Kyle Hosford volunteers Blake Hosford the Irish Men’s senior basketball captain and Cork U20 football captain working with Sanitise Ireland and giving a deep clean to Cork Penny Dinners. Picture Dan Linehan
James Murphy-Stout with Kyle Hosford volunteers Blake Hosford the Irish Men’s senior basketball captain and Cork U20 football captain working with Sanitise Ireland and giving a deep clean to Cork Penny Dinners. Picture Dan Linehan

The deep-cleaning of towns will take place over the next three to four weeks.

Mr Lucey said it will be up to municipal districts to decide on whether they want to continue with pay parking, suspend it for a period of time, or offer discounts.

However, he added the income from this is worth €1.3m annually to the council and if there is a reduction in that it will mean some curtailment of projects come budget time.

Cllr Seamus McGrath asked when playgrounds and public toilets might reopen. Mr Lucey said they are “trickier to manage,” and he will have to revert to him on that.

Cllr Mary Linehan-Foley said she is “very worried” that as the lockdown eases there might be a huge influx of people to beaches.

Mr Lucey said if travel restriction limits aren't adhered to then “alternative decisions would have to be taken at short notice,” which might mean shutting car parks at tourists spots.

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