Call for pub­lic sub­mis­sions to green­way plan

Irish Examiner - County - - News - Christy Parker

Youghal Cham­ber of Tourism and De­vel­op­ment is ap­peal­ing to busi­nesses, all com­mu­nity or­gan­i­sa­tions and the pub­lic to make sub­mis­sions to a plan­ning con­sul­ta­tion process for a pro­posed Youghal-Mi­dle­ton green­way.

The scheme, be­ing pro­moted by Cork County Coun­cil, will see a dis­used rail cor­ri­dor be­tween the towns con­verted to a cy­cling-and-walk­ing trail. Sub­mis­sions can be made un­til Oc­to­ber 30.

The project is ex­pected also to ben­e­fit smaller com­mu­ni­ties along the route, such as Kil­leagh and Mo­geely.

In­ter­est has been fur­thered by the phe­nom­e­nal suc­cess of the Dun­gar­van-Water­ford green­way while pre­lim­i­nary stud­ies noted the “suit­able to­pog­ra­phy and gen­tle gra­di­ent” of the 23 km east Cork route. Ex­it­ing from Youghal Strand, the pro­posed green­way will quickly tra­verse a 2.6 km board­walk across Bal­lyver­gan Marsh and its var­ied wildlife habi­tat that in­cludes sev­eral bird hides.

The plan in­vig­o­rates Youghal’s emer­gence as a self-sus­tain­ing, fam­ily-friendly, tourist town with a strong em­pha­sis on scenery, her­itage, food, beaches and river at­trac­tions.

The re­stored me­dieval town walls and 18th-cen­tury clock tower, the beach­side eco board­walk and, lately, the restora­tion of the 82-year-old Re­gal cinema has in­stilled con­fi­dence in the process.

The rail line had opened in 1860 and op­er­ated pas­sen­ger services un­til 1963. It con­tin­ued run­ning goods traf­fic un­til the early 1980’s, then pas­sen­ger spe­cials un­til 1988 when it fi­nally closed.

The rail­way legacy re­mains strong in lo­cal minds, with nos­tal­gia some­times aligned to more prag­matic sen­ti­ments in favour of re­tain­ing the route as a re­stored rail line as a com­muter cor­ri­dor to­wards Mi­dle­ton and Cork city. Some peo­ple be­lieve it would be vi­able in the con­text of a fu­ture light rail link and other traf­fic re­struc­tur­ings within the city.

Should plan­ning pro­ceed beyond the Part 8 plan­ning process the coun­cil will be­gin the search for fund­ing cur­rently es­ti­mated at over €6m. The coun­cil pro­poses leas­ing the line from CIE who will re­tain the right to recom­mis­sion it for rail de­vel­op­ment if de­sired.


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