Plans to 'beautify' Bantry are in the pipeline

Major culverting of the West Cork town is to be undertaken as part of its flood defences.
Plans to 'beautify' Bantry are in the pipeline

Major culvert and flood-relief works are to be undertaken in Bantry providing a chance to upgrade the streetscapes and environment of the West Cork town. Picture: Denis Scannell

A blueprint to 'beautify' Bantry is expected to be drawn up to allow a public realm revamp to run in conjunction with the town's multi-million euro flood relief scheme.

It has also been suggested such projects become the norm in other towns in Co Cork when they undergo similar major sewerage, water or road upgrades.

Major culverting of the West Cork town is to be undertaken as part of its flood defences. Councillors, led by Bantry-based Independent councillor Danny Collins, have received approval from officials to seek funding for the upgrading of the general streetscapes in its centre.

Mr Collins, who runs a pub in the town, said a strategy must be put in place now to redesign the quay area, Wolfe Tone Square and New Street in particular, and these plans need to be ready to enact with the finalisation of the flood defence scheme.

“The plans should also take into account improving traffic flow and parking, while enhancing planting and outdoor seating. This would have to be done with public consultation and when a design would be agreed it would be done at the same time as the culvert works are done,” Mr Collins told council officials.

His motion was seconded by Socialist Party councillor Ross O'Connell who said it is an opportune time to draw up such plans.

“The town has huge potential. Extra parking spaces are badly needed. It makes a lot of sense to have it all done in the one go.”

Mr Collins said they could get a town planner to draw up designs while waiting for funding for such a project.

"Parking is an issue and we need to free up traffic flow in places. Maybe we could pedestrianise New Street after 6pm. We could create extra parking spaces in the upper part of the square near the tourist office,” Mr Collins added.

Council officials said they acknowledged what was being said and would look to put funding aside next year to get a consultant to draw up such a masterplan.

MacDara Ohici, the council's most senior official for the area, described Mr Collins idea as “a brilliant suggestion.  He said finding funding to implement the consultant's plan would be an issue as the cost of the revamp could be quite substantial. However, he said every avenue of funding streaming would be explored.

Other council officials said they're already exploring additional outdoor seating, especially in New Street.

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