I was at the meeting in Ballyroe hotel last night and I’m happy to report that it was extremely well-attended, respectful and constructive. Personally, I feel that the majority of the people shared the same ground: This walkway will be a valuable local resource for the community, especially children, but should only go ahead once the reasonable concerns of those living near the track have been met. Thus, Vincent Foley from Kerry County Council announced that the walkway is now to undergo a new planning process that involves the public. There was a feeling by some objecting locals that the consultation process had been very poor at the outset, with some believing that the track was simply being pushed through. Kerry County Council have acknowledged this and, by extending the consultation period and urging all those with concerns to contact him directly, Vincent is doing his best to ensure that everyone feels their concerns are now being heard and that a new planning process renders the project more democratic and transparent which is to be applauded.
This project will now go through the following process:
1. A four month consultation period which will address all legitimate concerns.
2. Funding must be secured both to lay down the track and maintain it in the coming years.
3. Part 8 Planning Approval must be secured from Kerry County Council and Tralee County Council.
If the walkway does go ahead, it will start in September 2010 and will take approximately 6-7 weeks.
If I have gotten any of this information wrong, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and put me right.
There it is! Objective No. SG 9-32 in the Kerry County Development Plan 2009 – 2015: To promote and protect the Tralee-Fenit Railway Line as a cycleway and walkway (raon rothaíochta is siúlóide) as part of a government strategy to reclaim disused railway lines for local and tourist recreational use.
This, coupled with the news that funding of 750,000 has been secured by the Spa/ Fenit Community Council for the development of the project, is genuinely great news for a wide diversity of groups:
- private recreational walkers
- private recreational cyclists
- school children cycling to school
- nature lovers
- cycling groups
- walking groups
- businesses with an interest in promoting Tralee/Fenit as a tourist destination
- groups with an interest in promoting healthy lifestyles and sport
- disabled people and carers looking for a wheelchair friendly walkway
The list goes on! To find out more about the Tralee to Fenit proposed walkway/ cycleway, there is a public meeting being held on October 22nd in the Ballyroe Heights Hotel at 8pm.
A bus tour has been arranged by Kerry County Council for Saturday, 17 October to Abbeyfeale – Newcastle West where 28km of walkway/cycleway has been installed on the Old Limerick Railway Line. The bus is free and is on a priority first come basis. To book a place, call 066 7183900.
Excerpt from Kerry County Development Plan:
” There are significant stretches of land that were formerly in use as railway lines. To the extent that these are engineering works negotiating difficult topographical obstacles, they constitute significant resources, with potential for use as corridors for amenity access, free from motorised traffic, and even have potential for a revived railway use. It will be the policy of the planning authority to consider proposals for development in these areas for local heritage and outdoor activities including the provision of recreational walkways.”