PLANS to reopen a pedestrian entrance to St Flannan’s College, not used since the 1970s, have been given the green light. Clare County Council have granted planning permission for the proposal which also paves the way for the construction of a controlled crossing point on the Clare Road.
The move is part of efforts by the school to reduce car dependency and increase walking and cycling among students and staff.
The board of management at the secondary school applied to Clare County Council for planning permission to re-open the entrance on the boundary wall to the Clare Road, as well as erecting a barrier and gate. The access was previously used as a pedestrian access point in the 1970s and was the school’s main access location in the 1940s and 50s.
The school, with a student population of 1,181 with 100 staff, currently has one vehicular access on College View Road and two existing pedestrian access points.
According to documents lodged with the application, preliminary meetings have taken place between St Flannan’s College, consulting engineers Punch and Clare County Council with an agreement in place to construct a controlled crossing point adjacent to the proposed pedestrian entrance if planning permission was granted.
In making a decision to grant planning permission, Clare County Council found that subject to conditions “the proposed development would not seriously injure the amenities of the area or of property in the vicinity and would be in accordance with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.”
Among the conditions of the planning permission, no works are to take place until a controlled crossing on the R458 at the location of the proposed development is in place unless otherwise agreed by the planning authority.
A study carried out on behalf of the school lodged with the planning application showed that no staff surveyed and just 17% of surveyed students chose walking and cycling to travel to school.
The Mobility Management Plan prepared by Punch stated that “due to the location of the school and the alternative transport modes available then the historic reliance on the car can be challenged.”
The proposal to re-open the pedestrian access has been made “as a means of reducing car dependency associated with the school” in compliance with a number of sustainable transport initiatives.
The mobility management plan outlines the school’s objective to increase the numbers of walkers, cyclists and public transport users. This would be achieved by: issuing an information pack to all members of staff on the location and timetables of public transport; encouraging car sharing where practical and encouraging cycling and walking for staff and students.
An Action Plan has been put forward for the school to support achieving Smarter Travel targets with measures proposed including the establishment of walking clubs, incentives to encourage cycling, additional line marking, the introduction of showers and changing facilities, car pooling and liaising with bus service operators.