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Architect Fergal O Dowd, of Helena McElmeel Architects, and local man Tim Hogan chatting during a public consultation on the regeneration of the Scariff Market Square. Photograph by John Kelly

Consultation ongoing for Scariff regeneration options


PUBLIC consultation is underway in East Clare in relation to the enhancement of the heart of Scariff, as the town gets set for major regeneration. 

Almost one-third of people who have already given feedback on the ongoing project favour the removal of the area’s traditional cobblestones, while a significant number believe more parking is also needed. 

The town is set for major rejuvenation following the awarding of €524,000 by the Department of Rural and Community Development. The allocation will go towards the provision of a long-awaited new public car park, an enterprise hub and the enhancement of the Market Square.

The current consultation process, which will run until April 4, will feed into the the future of the historic Square and the works to be delivered under the current tranche of funding.  

Last year, a number of enhancement options were commissioned by Scariff Town Team in partnership with Scariff Community Council, and funded by Clare County County, Clare Local Development Company and Leader.

A team led by Helena McElmeel Architects, and involving Alan Lipscombe, Shane Hanniffy and David McLoughlin, has prepared proposals, based on a community consultation process. 

Last Monday, these plans were unveiled at an open evening which took place at the Teagasc building. Those attending were guided through the options for developing the areas around the Market House and the Fair Green, as well as plans for improving mobility in Scariff. They also viewed the results of last year’s feedback and consultation process. 

Themes which arose from that process included strong support for the removal of cobblestones; the improvement of traffic flow; more parking; accessibility, walkability and age-friendly initiatives; tree planting; seating; provisions of bins; undergrounding of cables; an occasional market and the potential for a covered area. All of these considerations have been included in the options now being put out to public consultation. 

In respect of the area around the Market House, two options are proposed. 

Option A would involve the redesign of the area around the Market House to include a new raised paved, shared road surface to the east of the Market House, beside the Computer Shop and McNamara’s.

The proposed widening of footpaths, would result in omission of parking to east side of Market House.This option offers the possibility of occasional markets or events in this area, by restricting traffic flow through the paved, shared surface area.

This option also proposes the realignment of the road to the western side of the Market House to facilitate improved footpaths to both sides, and to accommodate all traffic movements from Main Street including HGVs turning left onto the Feakle Road. This would allow traffic to flow freely during occasional closures of the shared surface road to eastern side.

Option B would involve the redesign of the area around the Market House to include a new raised paved, shared road surface to the west of the Market House, beside the Post Office and OMearas Pharmacy. Also proposed is the widening of footpaths, resulting in omission of parking to the Market House side of this road.
There is also the possibility of occasional markets or events in this area by restricting on the paved, shared surface area, however, this may reduce accessibility to the post office for persons who have difficulty walking.

This option would involve the realignment of the road to the eastern side of the Market House, beside McNamaras, to facilitate improved footpaths to both sides, and to accommodate all traffic from Main Street including existing HGVs movements turning left onto the Feakle Road. This would also traffic to flow freely during occasional closures of the shared surface road to western side, outside the post office.

Both Option A and B involve the proposed removal of low walls in front of Market House, the realignment of kerbs, and possibility of introducing a new raised planter and seating.

The amenity space is judge to be too small to accommodate a covered area or overflow from Market House – unless the shared surface road is closed to traffic.

In relation to the Fair Green, two options are also proposed. Both aim to create a more inviting central amenity space. In both cases, the existing amenity area in the centre of the Square would be redesigned, with more opportunities for seating and additional planting. 

Under Option A, the amenity area is similar in size to the existing paved space but is much more usable and accessible to all, and with a new footpath proposed to the perimeter to provide a more accessible connection between Connaught Road and Church Street.

It is also proposed to close off the existing unsafe steep car park access ramps from Church Street and reconfigure the car park with one way traffic flow accessed from Connaught Road side. Changes are proposed to the retaining wall and guarding adjoining the petrol pumps – increasing its height will allow the car park to be raised behind the wall and levelled a little, making the carpark safer and easier to use.

Under Option B, the amenity area is 10% smaller than the existing paved space, but is more usable and accessible to all, and with a new footpath proposed to the perimeter to provide a more accessible connection between Connaught Road and Church Street.

It is proposed to close off the steep carpark access ramp from Church Street adjacent to Centra. The rest of the carparking levels will be similar to the existing slope, with the steep exit ramp onto Church Street maintained.

Both Option A and B propose to improve pedestrian footpaths to ensure continued strong connection between Church Street and the rest of the Fair Green area and Square. Pedestrian crossings are proposed to all junctions to the perimeter of the square, and a raised road surface is proposed to the main central junction increasing pedestrian comfort, accessibility and priority in the space. New planting beds, trees and bike parking are provided also.

In addition to the options for the Market House and Fair Green, a range of active mobility initiatives are also proposed. 

A survey, to gather public views on the proposals, will be open online until April 4 at Surveymonkey.com/r/Scariff.
Presentation boards will be displayed at Market House, open from 11am to 3pm weekdays, until April 4. 

About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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