2nd April 2014
By Bryan Smyth
Need to learn from the mistakes of the past
Cllr John Buttimer has called for more detailed and focused consultation on the Draft City Development Plan which is due to go before the public on the 7th of April.
Over recent months a number of issues which have a statutory requirement for public consultation have been the cause of debate and discussion at City Council. Important public proposals and schemes which have a direct and real impact on the public realm, city streetscapes and traffic flow and management have been adopted following periods of public consultation where few if any comments have been received.
New traffic layout for Washington Street, Popes Quay, Parnell Place as well as other bicycle lane schemes received few if any comments despite being advertised nationally and locally. Considerable expenditure has been incurred in the preparation of these schemes. It is a sad reflection on all of us that protest and engagement only seems to occur when the works are ready to commence or have just been completed.
Cllr Buttimer said that clarification on the minimum and maximum levels of consultation required under statutory provision would be welcome in relation to the new Draft City Development Plan. He has asked the Director of Planning to ensure that Cork City Council in addition to the minimum requirements under statute would seek to meaningful engage with known interested and relevant stakeholders so as to ensure comprehensive consultation for contraventions or amendments to the City Development Plan. We have to ensure that where a proposal goes before the public that they are aware of their rights and responsibilities, we have to make it as easy as possible for people to understand what is being proposed as well as the positive and negative effects of any proposal. The manner in which people can give feedback also need to clarified and made easier.
Cllr Buttimer said that he hopes City Council will hold facilitated information and consultation days in a number of settings across the city to ensure local people in local communities can feel connected with and take ownership of the new Development Plan. There is also a need to have formal engagement from statutory and non-statutory stakeholders including Bus Éireann, the CBA, Cork Chamber of Commerce, ISME and others.
Draft Cork City Development Plan 2015-2021
The Draft City Development Plan sets out Cork City Council’s policies for the development of Cork City up to 2021. It has been developed following a period of intensive consultation which took the form of public meetings, workshops, meetings with stakeholders and service providers, written submissions and seminars for elected representatives.
The Draft Plan includes objectives on the zoning of land, protection of the environment, integration of planning and sustainable development. Seven strategic goals are included in the Draft Plan;
- Increase population and households to create a compact sustainable city
- Achieve a higher quality of life, promote social inclusion and make the city and attractive place to live, work, visit and invest in
- Support the revitalisation of the economy
- Promote sustainable modes of transport and integration of land use and transportation
- Maintain and capitalise on Cork’s unique form and character
- Tackle climate change through reducing energy usage, reducing emissions, adapt to climate change and mitigate against flood risk
- Protect and expand the green infrastructure of the city