ARCHITECTS who proposed a design for an independent footbridge in Quin village are set to meet with council officials to discuss the feasibilty of the project. Lawrence and Long Architects had previously put forward plans for a contemporary steel bridge. However, it was decided by Clare County Council that this would be “inappropriate”. There is already approval and funding in place to develop a new footpath to faciliate pedestrians along the wall of the existing bridge.
However, a recent meeting of Ennis East Electoral Area councillors saw Quin-based Councillor Sonny Scanlan urge Clare County Council to look again at the footbridge plans, calling for a meeting between the architects, councillors and officials. He also criticised the placing of bollards on the existing bridge saying they have been hit by traffic and are an obstruction to people with double buggies.
Tom Tiernan, senior engineer with the council has stated he would be open to meet with the architects involved. Architect Joe Lawrence, a native of Quin, told The Clare Champion they would be “more than happy” to meet with Mr Tiernan to discuss the proposed project.
Mr Lawrence said their proposed design has been “carefully considered to protect the Architectural Conservation Area and not to cause any damage, either visual or physical, to the fabric or character of the village”.
At the electoral area meeting, Councillor Scanlan commented, “I request that the relevant council officials meet with Lawrence and Long Conservation Architects to finalise a design solution for Quin village bridge. The health and safety of the public and, in particular, pedestrians using the bridge is now a matter of serious concern and this issue is now extremely urgent.”
Responding to the notice of motion, Mr Tiernan stated, “A Part 8 planing approval is already in place to facilitate reduction of the bridge carriageway to single lane and the development of a new footpath along the northern parapet wall. Funding is in place for this and the urgency articulated in the notice of motion can be effectively responded to by implementing this project over the coming months.”
He added, “Lawrence and Long has already made a proposal regarding the provision of an independent bridge and this was found to be architecturally and visually inappropriate and not in keeping with the archaeological sensitivities of the area. I’d be happy to meet with Lawrence and Long with a view to reaching a conclusion as to whether an “independent bridge” solution is feasible, while taking account of the various sensitivities associated with the area, the budget available and other pertinent factors. If an acceptable outcome doesn’t emerge in this context, the provision of a solution already approved under Part 8 of the Planning Regulations will proceed.”
Councillor Scanlan told the meeting he believed “the job can be done” as he called for the architects to meet with councillors and officials before any work is done. Councillor Pat Daly added, “For pedestrians using the bridge, it’s very dangerous, it’s a health and safety issue”.
Councillor Paul Murphy also voiced his concerns about the current dangers for pedestrians. Councillor Johnny Flynn commented, “It’s a huge health-and-safety issue but it also is a huge economic issue with Quin Abbey losing out on visitors because of poor car parking and coach parking. People are very frustrated,” he said.
Councillor Tommy Brennan added he would like to see a solution put in place.