Hundreds of submissions made against Wilton Road project

Hundreds of submissions made against Wilton Road project
The Wilton Gardens- Wilton Road junction showing the houses that might loose their front gardens for a proposed bus lane. Picture Dan Linehan

AROUND 350 submissions were handed into City Hall today calling for the Wilton Corridor Project to be shot down and completely re-thought.

Hundreds of residents in the area have been up in arms over plans to overhaul the Wilton Road.

The submissions by the Wilton Community Action Group, some 50 pages long, have labelled the project as draconian, expensive and unnecessary.

The WCAG also claim the proposed project will have an even greater negative impact on the quality of residents’ lives and have called for a complete re-think.

The first phase, which will focus on the stretch between the Wilton roundabout and Dennehy’s Cross, will require the use of a portion of several front gardens along the western side of the road.

The plans also include the shifting of traffic flow through the busy Dennehy’s Cross junction slightly westwards, and the installation of traffic lights at the junction of Wilton Gardens.

John Bowman, public relations officer for the WCAG, labelled the plans “lunacy”, particularly in light of the new Cork Transport Strategy which indicates plans for a light rail system on part of the road.

“Residents are absolutely against the plans and we are calling for it to be completely shot down in our submissions,” he told The Echo.

“The plan stinks to high heaven, is badly thought out.

“This is a multi-million euro project and yet there has been no evidence of any cost-benefit analysis being carried out.

“With everything that has gone on in the National Children’s Hospital and National Broadband Plan, we are being asked to trust them and we just can’t.” 

Mr Bowman added the proposed plans would create 'rat runs' through residential areas, accusing planners of not thinking it through and of using outdated sources to make the plans in the first place.

He added that, with the announcement of the Cork Metropolitan Transport Strategy, the residents' fight has become a fight for Cork.

“If we roll over and allow these land grabs to happen for a plan as bad as this one, it sets a dangerous precedent for the rest of the region.” 

The WCAG is hosting a family community day this Sunday and is encouraging local representatives to come along to discuss their concerns.

“We’re not anti-development but it has to be well planned as we have an opportunity here in Wilton to create a sustainable future,” said Mr Bowman.

“This project has to be shot down in City Hall and they have to approach us with a real plan.

“It seems to have been rushed through in a bid to use up funding so the money wouldn’t be lost,” he added.

The WCAG said that the plan will only add to issues such as traffic volumes, noise, and pollution which will be even closer to homes.

The group instead proposed to reduce the speed limit to 30kph and install traffic lights at Wilton Gardens, claiming this would address issues of speeding, noise, pollution, safety, subsidence, and parking.

A spokesperson for Cork City Council told The Examiner that meetings have taken place with local residents and councillors.

"This consultation process is ongoing and representatives from Cork City Council are available to meet with affected parties upon request. Consideration will be given to all submissions and observations received as part of the Part 8 planning process," they said.

"A detailed appraisal of the proposed project at Dennehy’s Cross/Wilton Gardens Junction has been undertaken in line with the Common Appraisal Framework for Transport Projects and Programmes as set out by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. This is not a public document. Its primary purpose is to aid design team decision making (engineering) and identify the merits of the project to assist the funding agencies.

"Dedicated sustainable transport infrastructure of the type proposed is vital to Cork city’s future growth as outlined in the NTA’s draft Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (CMATS) published earlier this week."

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