‘Constructive dialogue’ at Strokestown submissions clinic

Organisers of a clinic held in Strokestown last Saturday to facilitate members of the community in preparing submissions concerning the ‘Part 8 Public Realm Enhancement Scheme’ in the town says upwards of 80 people attended over the course of three hours.

The volunteers who hosted the clinic say a number of those attending were seeking clarity on the proposals for both Church Street and Bawn Street before they completed their submissions. In a press statement, the hosts of the clinic say that a constructive dialogue was held amongst all who attended.

Emmett Corcoran, one of a handful of local people who volunteered to assist members of the community on the day, reflected on how it went: “In general, the mood at the clinic was one of hope. Those with concerns felt their issues could be satisfied if ‘common sense’ was to prevail”.

The hosts say there was a general sense of confusion about the plans. One attendee alluded to such confusion around the proposed impact on parking… and affirmed their belief that 260 car parking spaces was more than adequate, a view not held by the majority.

Mr. Corcoran said: “Virtually all who attended the clinic agreed the parking scheme was deficient, at least in its proposed layout… the number of spaces in, and layout of, the proposed parking scheme was certainly the number one issue raised by attendees. Those in favour of a more orderly parking scheme conceded that such a scheme should be introduced on foot of the establishment of ‘backland’ parking areas on Church Street and Bawn Street and with a greater degree of consideration for the rights of existing property and business owners and those with mobility issues.

“A close second in matters of concern was the inclusion of excessive vegetation and green areas in the plan… the main basis of objections to more green areas was the lack of a maintenance plan”.

Mr Corcoran added that the issue of preserving the built heritage of the town was not as large a bone of contention as was expected.

He continued: “The positives in the plan were also noted in submissions. They included the introduction of pedestrian crossings; relocation of the bus stop from Bridge Street to Church Street; introduction of uniform seatings and signage, and the appropriate resurfacing of carriageways/footpaths”.

According to the organisers, those in outright opposition to the plan were in the minority, with the vast majority of those who attended wishing to see the plan progress, but with amendments.

The press statement added that while the minutiae of the amendments people sought varied, the ‘broad strokes’ were clear:

1: The parking scheme needs to be revisited, and if the existing on-street parking is to be reduced, off-street parking, in appropriate locations, should be provided.

2: Any new green areas or planting need to be resourced with a concrete plan for maintenance; however, the overwhelming majority do not wish to see new green spaces under any circumstances.

3: Access to properties, in particular businesses, needs to be prioritised. Not just in terms of the provision of parking but also in terms of removing obstacles such as raised kerbing, vegetation, and cycle lanes. It was also felt that the project needs to be ‘future-proofed’.

Emmett Corcoran told the Roscommon People: “The local stakeholders’ position is quite clear. Any investment in Strokestown needs to be done in a sustainable way which is respectful of the needs and wants of the majority”.

The plan, either in its current form or with amendments, is set to be brought before the December meeting of the Boyle Municipal District, at which point the elected representatives will vote to either accept or reject the plan.

*Organisers of the clinic point out that the closing date for submissions to Roscommon County Council is on or before 5 pm on 3rd of November 2023.