Councillors call for joined-up thinking regarding footpaths
“Joined-up thinking” is needed when it comes to footpaths, or rather the lack of them, connecting many housing estates in towns in Co Cork.
Councillors want a Special Purposes Committee (SPC) consider introducing a new policy and providing more pavements to make it safer for pedestrians, and to tackle increasing childhood obesity.
Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan raised the issue at a meeting of the West Cork municipal district council. He requested a footpath link from a housing estate on the periphery of Clonakilty to other footpaths which connected to the town centre. Council engineers said creating a 450m-long footpath might involve Compulsory Purchase Orders of land and that could be expensive. Cllr O’Sullivan said a local residents’ association had been in contact with landowners and he understood they were willing to enter talks with the council.
He said that planning permission had been granted for another site close to the estate he was talking about, at MacCurtain Hill.
Cllr O’Sullivan said there was a lack of joined-up thinking and this was putting pedestrians at risk. “It’s a constant problem getting housing areas linked up properly,” he added.
Cllr Paul Hayes said there were hundreds of houses planned for Clonakilty which could come on-stream in the next five to 10 years and connecting them with proper footpaths needed to be addressed.
Cllr John O’Sullivan (FG), meanwhile, observed: “If we can’t have children walking safely into towns, it means more traffic. We should refer this to SPC for further discussion.
“We’re all hearing stories of childhood obesity. There are other towns in West Cork with similar issues,” he suggested. The government wanted a healthier Ireland and walking was one way of achieving it: “Forcing people to drive their children somewhere as it’s not safe to walk was leading to traffic jams and unnecessary pollution,” he added.