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.