The green light for a major expansion of car parking spaces in Clonmel town centre was given on Wednesday.
The car park at Suir Island is set to increase from seventy one spaces to two hundred and sixty four after public representatives decided to drive on with the project which is integral to the Suir Island master plan.
The new car park will now go out to tender either before Christmas or shortly after Christmas and works on site are expected to start early in the new year.
The Part 8 planning permission application , which formally allows Clonmel Borough District to go to tender, was approved.
A proposal by Cllr.Pat English that the formal approval be delayed to allow a further meeting to take place between council officials and environmental group Suir Can to discuss concerns did not receive a seconder.
A proposal to proceed was made by Cllr.Siobhan Ambrose and seconded by Cllr.Michael Murphy and was approved by the council.
Suir Can, which was the only group to make a submission in the public consultation process, wanted to meet officials because of concerns they had regarding the intended tarmac surface of the car park and about a proposed fence located on a berm located between the car park and the rest of the island.
Addressing issues raised by Suir Can Town Engineer Eamon Lonergan said due consideration had been given to those matters.The tarmac surface was the most durable,the one that gave the best protection against pollutants seeping into the ground and causing ground contamination,whereas if a material of a more porous nature was used for a surface that level of protection would not be achieved.
Regarding the issue of the fence the town engineer said it was a security measure to protect against anti social behaviour in the car park.The fence was a temporary measure and would be removed as the Suir Island Master plan was implemented and the rest of the island was opened up.They had met with Suir Can and looked at their submission and they did not agree with them on technical grounds.It was a balanced design.
Paddy Crotty,engineer said the fence would be replaced by a boardwalk along the berm that was located at the rear of the car park.The fence was only being used to secure the site in the meantime.
Explaining the layout of the car park and the overall Suir Island development Paddy Crotty said that it was a forty acre site , four fifths of which had been earmarked for amenity purposes to promote a “green lung” in the centre of the town.15%of the car park site itself was landscaped.
Cllr.Siobhan Ambrose proposed that the development proceed.The observations raised had been taken into consideration and the meeting had just heard from a town business forum how badly needed more car park spaces were.
Cllr.Michael Murphy, seconding the proposal, said the Suir Can group were well intentioned and had a high degree of expertise among their group.He would not like to see the car park being held up and the council needed to proceed.He believed the landscaping could be enhanced and said Suir Can had a role to play in the overall development of the island.
Cllr.Pat English said all of the members had been approached by Suir Can and he felt their request for another meeting before a decision was taken could be facilitated.