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Cappoquin Civic Link Submission to County Development Plan 2011-17
The following is the submission sent by Cappoquin Civic Link to the department working on the draft County Development Plan for 2011-2017. We have tried to identify at least some of the needs of Cappoquin as far as we can determine, within the context of an overall county plan. The submission is reproduced here in the interests of transparency.
SETTLEMENT STRATEGY AND POPULATION
We propose that it is necessary to place an emphasis on the existing stock of houses within each centre/town, e.g. Cappoquin has a large number of empty houses, and that these are used as a priority and new housing estates/developments are not encouraged unnecessarily.
We propose that one story housing close to the centre of town to facilitate elderly people and that the Council are proactive in identifying derelict houses and disused houses for renovation and use. Along with this, that the 3% levy on owners, the landlords of multiple properties in particular, who don’t take care of their properties over a number of years be raised to at least 6% and that a CPO is the next step if owners are not compliant.
We propose that their be a reintroduction of the refurbishment grants for those who inherit houses needing refurbishment, etc and indeed that this could be part funded by the higher levy on non-compliant owners.
We propose that new housing developments be completed and that the Council be more proactive where dereliction occurs. The Council might consider, in conjunction with the Tidy Towns and Cappoquin Civic Link, giving some assistance to elderly people who are no longer able to maintain the front of their houses.
EMPLOYMENT AND ECONOMY
We propose, in general, that all services are maintained across all the towns equally and balanced; with Council agreeing to this approach and that the Council supports and encourages new businesses by waiving its service charges for a period of, for example, three years.
We propose specifically “Service Equalisation” in that the Co. Council take account of the depletion of Council services in some places over recent years and seek to ensure that remaining services in such places be reinforced and preserved. For example, if the Council closes a fire station, branch library or council depot in a town or village, it will make every effort not to remove another Council service from the same place.
We propose specifically “Social Equalisation” in that in circumstances where non-Council agencies have removed services from an area, the County Council will be proactive in seeking to ensure that its own services will be retained in the same place. For example, if a bank branch, post office or school closes in an area, the Council will endeavour, all other things being equal, to ensure that its offices, library, etc. will be retained in the same place.
We propose specifically “Funding Equalisation” in that the County Council seek to ensure that a balance is maintained between the development funding available to towns and villages under Council and non-Council schemes. For example, if a place is awarded significant grant aid for its heritage, seaside location, etc, then other places should be entitled to more favourable Council support to ensure that any imbalance is redressed. For example, that the decorative lighting be extended to all the streets, considered the main streets, of each town or village.
The Carrigeen Industrial Estate has several business units lying idle. The Council could reduce service charges, thus encouraging service providers to take up tenancy.
We propose that the burying of ESB lines be completed while the work/construction of the sewerage scheme, for example in Cappoquin, are being carried out and that as part of any major works in any situation that the Council co-operate and synchronise its works with other Service Providers.
We propose that a bicycle shed/parking area be provided in each town centre and that cycle lanes, on the roads leading to and from schools, be provided. A bicycle shed/parking area and bicycle lane should be created from Cappoquin to Melleray, the bicycle lane and shed to be a pilot scheme in Cappoquin.
We propose the promotion and maintenance of “Deise Link” and other public transport services, including a postal drop of time tables, etc.
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SOCIAL, COMMUNITY AND CULTURAL
We propose the promotion of community buildings as multi-use facilities and that those community halls that have been publicly funded should have greater accessibility to the public, that is, public toilets and a tourist office where appropriate. We suggest an audit be carried out on all halls in each community (both facilities owned by the Council and/or partially funded by public money) to ascertain the full potential for their use. We emphasise the importance of the branch libraries and stress the importance of their maintenance and extension of their opening hours and facilities.
The Council should give a firm commitment that in areas where it has assisted in the development of playground area, the ongoing maintenance and insurance of these facilities will fall within the Council’s remit.
We propose the upgrading of bottle bank recycling facilities and specifically the reintroduction of Can Banks.
HERITAGE AND CONSERVATION
We propose that a designated Green Area of a certain size within the limits of a town be maintained and remain a green area, purely for recreational purposes without risk of development.
We specifically propose that in seeking to prevent corridor tourism through Waterford, the County Council will not instead promote simplistic “hot spot” tourism, where small numbers of places or attractions are given intensive promotion to the detriment of other places which are not similarly promoted.
We specifically propose that the County Council seek, in partnership with Failte Ireland and other agencies, to ensure that towns and villages which do not have heritage centres or tourist offices be given every support to establish these, at least for summer months. This might include the use of a branch library or other Council property, with broader opening hours, for such purposes, ideally in cooperation with local heritage or tourism groups
We specifically propose that the Council’s own literature and signage does everything possible to highlight the attractions of all towns and villages in the County. This to identify previously unidentified sites of interest, provide street name plaques in all towns and village with over 500 inhabitants and seek to market the County as a whole package.
We specifically propose that the walk from the Cappoquin soccer pitches to Barrack Street should be mapped out and the area, known locally as “The Bank” be developed as a green area, ideally as a linear park within Cappoquin. This could be done on a very low budget.
We propose that the County Council promotes the development of the River Blackwater as a tourist attraction, including the regeneration and upkeep of bridges, slipways/quays and signage along the river, particularly the tidal reaches.
We propose that the County Council actively supports local initiatives to develop river amenities, such as the Red Bridge Walkway at Cappoquin, mooring facilities at Cappoquin and to promote and encourage local traditions relating to the river, such as fishing and the 150 year old rowing tradition in Cappoquin,
We propose that the County Council develops camping/camper van sites in suitable areas around the county and that the Council renovates existing derelict recreational facilities, such as the derelict chalet park at Glenshelane, Cappoquin.
We propose that the County Council, for tourist. Economic, environmental and social benefit of the people is proactive in helping to restore as a walking and cycling path, the railway line running through the county from Tallow Road to Waterford City, including the Red Bridge at Cappoquin. The Council should be proactive in seeking to develop existing walking trails into a network of signposted and looped walks or cycle tracks, with appropriate parking, seating facilities and raised walkways over marsh areas, etc.
We emphasise that signage of any description in Cappoquin is virtually non-existent. One of our committee members had a bereavement this week. Many relatives travelled from various parts of Cork County and all commented that it was impossible to find Cappoquin because it was no properly sign-posted. The Council needs to get going on this very important infrastructure for tourism.
We propose a tourist office for Cappoquin. Cappoquin Civic Link can source a premises and staffing for a very low retainer. This could be done for the tourist season this year, once Cappoquin Civic Link gets the “okay” from Failte Ireland.