THE needs and feelings of residents of the Spring Lane halting site in Ballyvolane must be respected when alternative accommodation for them is being decided.
That is according to the chairman of Cork City Council’s Local Traveller Accommodation Consultative Committee, Sinn Fein’s Cllr Mick Nugent.
He was speaking after the Evening Echo revealed on Wednesday that the site could be closed in 2020.
There are plans underway to provide alternative accommodation to the almost 150 residents living on the site.
While it is not yet concrete that the halting site will close in 2020, it is understood that an interagency group working to tackle the Spring Lane site accommodation issue is working towards ensuring its closure.
It is understood that it is proposed that the families on the site could be accommodated in group housing schemes, dedicated halting site accommodation and social housing.
The site was opened as an emergency measure almost three decades ago, for 10 families.
However, there are now 35 families living there on ten bays – with poor electrical connections, flooding issues, lack of toilet facilities and a potholed road network being among the primary concerns of residents and Traveller advocacy groups.
Cllr Nugent said: “I would welcome any proposal to close Spring Lane as long as the alternatives are there for the families. People have lived there since the 1980s and that has to be respected.” While he acknowledged that some residents have moved out of it and into different areas of the city, he highlighted that the majority of residents see the Ballyvolane, Dublin Hill and Blackpool areas as their local community."
He added: “The transition has to be handled sensitively.”
And he said he hoped that plans to close the site are not a “false dawn”, stressing that it is not adequate for the number of people living there.
Emergency works were carried out at the cliff face to prevent it falling onto the site in recent years, after a recommendation in a report on Spring Lane by the late former manager of South Dublin County Council, Joe Horan.
Cork City Council revealed last April that there were a number of anti-social behaviour incidents at the In 2015, a draft report advocating the development of group housing schemes for families on the site was completed by Respond! housing agency.