WITH major works set to begin soon on culvert repairs in Bantry town centre local councillors are calling for a proper plan for the town’s public realm to be put in place to coincide with the project.
The issue was raised at the recent meeting of the West Cork Municipal District where the lack of an architectural plan for the public realm in Bantry was flagged as an urgent issue.
With the culvert works expected to begin within the next year independent councillor Danny Collins called for a town architect for Bantry to be appointed to co-ordinate a streetscape improvements with the culvert works.
Fine Gael’s Mary Hegarty said that the culvert works could cause major disruption for local businesses and called for proper public consultation to be carried out. She said there was a lot of positive activity in the town and that it would be an ideal opportunity to improve the public realm in the town centre.
Fianna Fáil’s Patrick Gerard Murphy pointed out that the county architect’s office was understaffed with the County Architect recently retiring and no senior architect in place, he said the service had been “decimated” and needed to been reinvigorated as a matter of urgency.
Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan said that Clonakilty had benefitted immensely from a co-ordinated and properly designed scheme that had seen footfall increase in the town and supported calls for the architect’s department to be properly staffed.
Cllr Joe Carroll said that Bantry was not realising its full potential due to a lack of planning and infrastructure and suggested a motion be put to County Council to appoint a design team either internally or externally to work in tandem with the culvert scheme which was supported.