Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy during the summer recess called upon Council planning officials to develop a local Area plan for Douglas Village. Cllr McCarthy noted traffic congestion and empty shopping units prompted him to call for a Village Plan. “I received quite a lot of concern from constituents during my recent canvass that the congestion in Douglas Village needs to be alleviated and calls that more should be done to attract potential new enterprises to the village – as well as that minding the natural heritage of the area whilst creating more pedestrian connectivity from the village through Bracken Woods and the Mangala also came up. These narratives to do more are also very relevant in this early autumn in the context of the recent Douglas Shopping Centre Carpark Fire”.
Responding to Cllr McCarthy’s call and concerns Director of Planning, Ferghal Reidy in a response to the councillor outlined this week – that due to resource constraints it is not possible to prepare a separate Local Area Plan for Douglas at this time. There is a Douglas Land Use and Transport Strategy and a section on Douglas in the Carrigaline Local Area Plan – both of which were prepared by Cork County Council several years before the boundary extension this year, which are still being worked through.
In the 2011 Carrigaline Local Area Plan there was an objective to undertake a Land Use and Transportation Study for the Douglas Area. The Douglas Land Use and Transportation Strategy (DLUTS), which was an integrated approach to land use planning, urban design and transportation engineering for the future development of the village was prepared by Cork County Council in 2014. It also aimed to respond to issues such as dereliction, traffic and spatial planning. The aims and objectives of this Strategy were incorporated as an amendment to the 2011 Carrigaline Local Area Plan and the 2017 Carrigaline-Ballincollig District Local Area Plan.
Infrastructure Improvements in the last few years have seen investment in the Mangala Valley (e710,000), Maryborough Hill phase 2 (e1.5m), Old Carrigaline Road Traffic Calming Scheme (e150,000), Douglas Community Park (e130,000), widening of N40 under bridges (e520,000), Donnybrook Hill Pedestrian Enhancement Programme 2016-17 (e220,000), South Douglas Road to Tramore Valley Park Pedestrian and Cycle Link (e250,000), and design costs for Grange Road to Tramore Valley Park Pedestrian and Cycle Link (e190,000).
While many of the infrastructure objectives of DLUTS have been achieved there are a number of significant proposals outstanding which would greatly enhance traffic and access in the area: The East-West Link bridge from the Carrigaline Road to the Grange Road across the Mangala Valley; and the corridor from the Rochestown road to the Airport Road via the Grange Road was also being assessed prior to the transition boundary.
The Draft Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy 2040 also aims to alleviate and improve traffic movement in the village- to be sure that Douglas is served by the 206 High Frequency Bus Service with services every 15 mins and to have the area part of the Cork Cycle Network Plan 2017.
The Carrigaline-Ballincollig Local Area Plan has also invested nearly e4m into the urban fabric of Douglas Village.
Commenting on the report Cllr Kieran McCarthy highlighted that “Cork City Council, has committed, based on attaining funding, to implement the remaining objectives of the Douglas Land Use and Transport Strategy and then to create a local Area Plan as part of the new city development plan to be compiled this year and next. Objectives will be reviewed and updated as part of the preparation of the next City Development Plan. Douglas and surrounds needs further investment to alleviate the traffic congestion but also I wish to keep the focus on the liveability, look and character of the village as well”.