CHANGING the proposed zoning designation of Spancilhill from a ‘cluster’ to a ‘small village’ in the Clare County Development Plan would help reduce speed limits and address “dangerous levels” of traffic speeding which has split the community in two, a meeting of councillors has been told.
The “ongoing safety concerns” of residents due to speeding in Spancilhill was raised at the monthly meeting of the Ennis Municipal District by Councillor Clare Colleran Molloy.
She added that locals are of the view that recent road improvements and markings are “insufficient” while asking if VMS signs could be considered.
While Councillor Johnny Flynn confirmed he has made a submission to the Draft Clare County Development Plan 2023-2029 seeking to change the proposed zoning designation.
Responding to Councillor Colleran Molloy’s motion, Eamon O’Dea, Senior Executive Engineer stated, “The line marking contractor carrying out the sign and lining work at Spancilhill Low Cost Safety Scheme were unable to complete the line marking work due to salting of the road network.
“The Ennis MD has an undertaking form the line marking contractor that this work is now prioritised and should be completed in the next two to three weeks.
“Following the completion of the Low Cost Safety Scheme, the Road Design Section will carry out a traffic survey to ascertain the mean speeds of the road and review that installation of VMS signals based on survey findings.”
Councillor Colleran Molloy pointed out that Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan launched a Speed Limit Appeals Procedure which allows members of the public to object and appeal existing speed limits contained within a Local Authority’s current Speed Limit Bye-laws.
Councillor Flynn’s submission seeks to change the proposed zoning designation with the councillor stating, “zoning Spancilhill as a small village would assist in dealing under roads legislation to reduce speed limits in order to address dangerous levels of traffic and speed passing through the village which effectively splits the village in two.”
He added that in order to reflect the famous Spancilhill Cross and its annual Horse Fair the settlement boundary should be extended to include the homes on the southern side of the main road at the Crossroads which would mean a minimum 20 homes would be in the revised settlement.
“The adjoining village of Clooney is not zoned as a Cluster but is zoned as a small village with circa 16 houses within its settlement boundary. This has meant that infrastructural and speed limit improvements for road safety reasons has been possible in Clooney unlike at Spancilhill Crossroads.
“Local link bus service passes through the village and maintaining/growing the population of the village would be greatly assisted by greater use of the bus links.”
Councillor Colleran Molloy added that she has recommended to residents that they make a similar submission to the County Development Plan.
The councillor also sought information on the cost of installing two street lights at Spancilhill Cross so that GMA allocation can be considered.
She said that the need for lighting has become an ongoing issue for residents who are trying to improve conditions for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.
Michael O’Grady, Executive Engineer, responded, “Clare County Council will carry out a lighting design to determine what level of lighting is required to safely light up this junction and a costing for same. Once received, the feasibility of installing any required lights at this location will be examined, including environmental screening requirements. A budget for the installation of any lights will need to be identified.”
The councillor also welcomed news that insurance cover has been secured by Clare County Council for the world-famous Spancilhill Fair.