Gould: 2040 plan ignores northside’s needs

Gould: 2040 plan ignores northside’s needs

Cllr Thomas Gould claims the northside of Cork city is being left behind in the 2040 plan. Picture: David Keane

THE northside of Cork has been 'forgotten about' in the 2040 plan, according to a local councillor.

Sinn Féin's Thomas Gould slammed the lack of proposed infrastructure in the area, claiming that the populations of Hollyhill, Knocknaheeny, Tower and Blarney have been all but ignored.

The €116 billion investment package unveiled last week included a commitment to develop more hospitals and amenities in Cork, as well as funding the events centre and conducting a feasibility study into the prospect of light rail on Leeside.

It also confirmed plans to build the eastern half of the Northern Ring Road, a project long-viewed as essential to revitalising communities on Cork's northside.

The 2040 plan says that the option of building a high-volume road linking the new motorway Cork to Limerick motorway to the M8, the Dunkettle Interchange, and the Jack Lynch Tunnel will be explored. The western side of the Northern RingRoad, linking Blackpool to Ballincollig, is not included, as of yet.

Mr Gould hit out at the decision, claiming it will cause issues on the northside for many years to come.

"The Northern Ring Road is a vital piece of infrastructure here," he said.

"It is the reason that Churchfield Industrial Park and Kilbarry and Hollyhill and, even, Blackpool have not achieved their full potential.

It is the reason that we have heavy-goods vehicles driving through housing estates up here.

"It is the reason that developers looking at Cork decide to locate on the southside of the city, where the infrastructure is already in place.

"The vision for 2040 completely excludes this side of the city. The Northern Ring Road is the single biggest piece of infrastructure needed in Cork; it would be an absolute game-changer and would re-balance development in Cork."

Among the proposals in the 2040 plan is a feasibility study for a light rail network in Cork. Mr Gould said this has to be extended to the northside, incorporating the populations of Blarney, Tower, Knocknaheeny, Blackpool and other areas.

A proposal by People Before Profit backed the idea of a light rail in Cork but omits the city's northside from its proposed routes.

Mr Gould said, "The suggestion goes from Mahon Point to Ballincollig and Kent Station to the Airport, with no mention of the northside. It is baffling.

"On the northside of Cork, you have the populations of Tower and Blarney, you have Glanmire, one of the biggest suburbs here, and you have Apple in Hollyhill. The busiest bus route goes from Mahon to Apple, that's the 202 and it serves thousands every day. It is urgently needed."

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