Carrigaline has been 'neglected' and 'hollowed out'

Carrigaline has been 'neglected' and 'hollowed out'
Traffic passing through Carrigaline. Pic: Howard Crowdy

DECADES of planning neglect’ have resulted in a hollowing out of the heart of Carrigaline, according to a UCC economist.

Dr Frank Crowley, an economist with UCC’s Cork University Business School, has spoken out after the town was left shocked by the announcement of two prominent closures in recent days. O Crualaoi’s butchers is to close its Carrigaline outlet within the coming days, while the Abbey Bar & Restaurant will also shut its doors by the end of the summer.

Locals have blamed poor traffic management, with the heart of Carrigaline often clogged during busy times.

Dr Crowley said that it is the result of ‘decades of planning neglect.’

“Literally, the town has been dumped on with residential housing without careful design of how the town will cater for the increased population,” he said.

“The main street is choked with car traffic and any businesses that survive are built on convenience products like takeaways, hairdressers and supermarkets,” he added.

In 1971, Carrigaline had a population of just 971. In the 2016 census, this figure has hit 16,000, a 1,500% increase in just 45 years.

Carrigaline is the fastest-growing town in the country and with further housing estates planned, the population will keep increasing.

Dr Crowley said: “Carrigaline is a prime example of how the local strategic plans of LUTS, in 1978, and CASP, of 2001, have failed citizens in the region.

“People are voting with their feet; they work elsewhere, they shop elsewhere, they dine elsewhere, and they socialise elsewhere.”

Despite political pressure locally, long-awaited developments, like the Western Relief Road to bypass the town centre, are years away.

Dr Crowley added: “There is a clear lack of investment in the area’s public realm. The street lacks adequate pedestrianised areas, a square, street seating, and trees.

“The town badly needs a square, where community events and markets can be held, that draws people into the town. And the town’s greatest scenic asset, the river, is under-utilised.”

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