‘Citizen voices were heard’: NTA scraps proposal for bridge over popular Cork woods

In the draft plans for the Kinsale Road to Douglas STC, the NTA had said the proposed configuration of the bridge reflected but was, “not dependent on”, a proposed Southern Distributor Road.
‘Citizen voices were heard’: NTA scraps proposal for bridge over popular Cork woods

A proposal to build a bridge over Ballybrack Woods in Douglas as part of the BusConnects Cork plans has been scrapped. Picture: Larry Cummins

A CONTROVERSIAL proposal to build a bridge over Ballybrack Woods in Douglas as part of the BusConnects Cork plans has been scrapped, with local residents said to be “over the moon” following the news.

The National Transport Authority (NTA) confirmed on Wednesday that it will no longer proceed with the proposal to develop the bridge over the woods known locally as ‘the Mangala’.

“The National Transport Authority can confirm that a proposed bridge over the Mangala Valley connecting Grange Road to Carrigaline Road will not be included in the revised proposals for the Kinsale Road to Douglas sustainable transport corridor [STC] as part of BusConnects Cork,” the NTA said in a statement.

In the draft plans for the Kinsale Road to Douglas STC, the NTA had said the proposed configuration of the bridge reflected but was, “not dependent on”, a proposed Southern Distributor Road.

The NTA on Wednesday confirmed that the delivery of the Southern Distributor Road connecting Rochestown and Douglas to Grange and Frankfield and onwards to the Sarsfield Road “remains a longer-term objective of the Cork Metropolitan Area Transportation Strategy". 

The statement also said that the NTA is currently reviewing the almost 3,000 submissions made during the first round of public consultation on the 12 proposed STCs for Cork.

“It is anticipated that the next round of public consultation will commence with the revised proposals in the spring of 2023,” the authority added.

Local Fine Gael councillor Shane O’Callaghan welcomed the NTA decision regarding the bridge over the Mangala. 

A proposal to build a bridge over Ballybrack Woods in Douglas as part of the BusConnects Cork plans has been scrapped. Picture: Larry Cummins
A proposal to build a bridge over Ballybrack Woods in Douglas as part of the BusConnects Cork plans has been scrapped. Picture: Larry Cummins

He had previously facilitated a meeting between the deputy CEO of the NTA, Hugh Creegan and members of Douglas Tidy Towns back in the summer to discuss the concerns regarding the proposed bridge.

“We would have explained how important the Mangala is to Douglas as a green space, as a nature and wildlife reserve and as a public amenity for the people of Douglas and how the proposed bridge would have had a hugely detrimental, in fact devastating, impact on that,” he said.

Mr O’Callaghan said that he and members of Douglas Tidy Towns had a further meeting on Wednesday where they were informed that, following the concerns raised at the initial meeting and by others who made submissions, the NTA had decided to drop the proposal.

He said those at the meeting this week were “over the moon” to hear the news.

“I would like to commend Hugh Creegan and the NTA for their willingness to engage with local councillors such as myself and organisations like Douglas Tidy Towns and Douglas Now,” Mr O’Callaghan continued.

The proposed bridge had its origins in the Douglas Land Use and Transport Strategy (DLUTS) developed by Cork County Council and MVA Consultancy before the boundary extension.

Mr O’Callaghan said that should the bridge have been included in the BusConnects plans, it would have bypassed councillors and gone straight to An Bord Pleanála for a ruling to be made.

He said that if Cork City Council decide to separately pursue the proposed bridge he would like councillors to have a vote on it. 

Meanwhile, Independent councillor Kieran McCarthy who had also been vocal in his opposition to the bridge proposal welcomed the NTA’s decision.

“Citizen voices were heard. It is a great day for democracy and for the protection of the local environment and biodiversity,” he said.

Mr McCarthy said challenges remain in the draft STC plans and called on the NTA to continue to work with the public. 

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