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Blake's Corner in Ennistymon

North Clare blackspot is likely to be subject of an oral hearing

A SENIOR Clare County Council official has said that the local authority expects there to be an oral hearing into plans for Blake’s Corner in Ennistymon.
At Tuesday’s meeting of West Clare Municipal District, Senior Engineer Sean Lenihan said, “We published the CPO last June, submissions were to be received by An Bord Pleanála in September, there were 12 or 13 submissions all of which are receiving the required attention both from ourselves and the Board.
“We are getting ready for an oral hearing, we imagine there will be an oral hearing, but that’s subject to the Board’s decision. They have alluded to the fact that there will most likely be one, but they haven’t actually given us a date.”
He said they had thought there would have been progress by this stage, but it should come within three months. “We were hoping to have news by the end of April, which was last Friday, but what we got from them last Thursday was a letter more or less kicking it down the road to the end of July,” he told Councilmembers.
“They have extended the decision making period to July 30. We would very much expect to hear from them before that, but that the news will be an oral hearing, which will take a day or two. We’ll go in with our proposal, anyone objecting will come in with their issues and the Board’s inspector will determine then, one way or the other,” said Mr Lenihan.
He also updated the members on the development of the West Clare Railway Greenway.
“The second project there is the greenway and what’s more important is linking it to towns and villages. We were speaking before about the Greenway being 85km, but when you look at it in the round, and to tie it back in with towns and villages, it’ll be over 110km for a finish, because there’s no point having to drive out to something on the edge of town or in the countryside. It has to be an absolutely integral part of the fabric of the community, and in our plan we’ll be tying it back in with towns, villages and any areas of interest,” said Mr Lenihan.
He said that a tender competion has just taken place, and it is likely that a consultant for the Kilkee-Kilrush element of the greenway will be appointed quite soon.
“We’re looking at the greenway project in four phases – Ennis to Ennistymon, Ennistymon to Miltown, Miltown Malbay to Moyasta and the bit that we’re looking at currently, Kilkee to Kilrush.”
After the Kilkee-Kilrush element, he said the State has requested that Ennis-Ennistymon be next progressed. Mr Lenihan said he hoped the first phase would be open by late 2025.
On the development of a Doolin Pier Visitor Services Centre, he said that the Council hopes to submit a planning application to An Bord Pleanála later this year.
“We’re coming to the stage now where we have a layout of a building, we have a footprint, a location.
“There are other bits that need to be looked at, the car parking requirement, waste water treatment and so forth, but we’re moving all of that onwards and we plan to submit for planning before the end of the year, hopefully in October,” he concluded.

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.