Residents of Treacy Park protesting last September at plans to develop a Blueway car park on part of Sean Healy Park
A dispute over a proposal to develop a Blueway visitors’ car park at a public park that threatens the €18m Carrick-on-Suir regeneration scheme, is on the brink of resolution.
Tipperary County Council submitted its application for €17.98m Rural Regeneration Development Funding for its ambitious Carrick-on-Suir Regeneration Plan to the Department of Rural & Community Development on the deadline date of last Friday, April 29.
But significantly the application omitted the controversial proposal for a Blueway visitors’ car park on part of Sean Healy Park that the residents of Sean Treacy Park housing estate across the road staunchly oppose.
Carrick-on-Suir Municipal District’s Director of Services Brian Beck confirmed to The Nationalist that the Sean Healy Park Blueway car park proposal was not part of the council’s RRDF application.
But he said he couldn’t confirm or deny reports that the council was in negotiations to locate the Blueway visitors’ car park on property owned by Carrick Davins GAA Club adjacent to Davin Park.
“We have no formal arrangement in place with anything right now. I can’t confirm or deny that,” he told The Nationalist.
The Part 8 planning application for the Carrick-on-Suir Regeneration Plan was approved by a narrow majority of three to two councillors last November with Carrick-on-Suir’s two representatives Kieran Bourke and David Dunne voting against primarily because of local opposition to the Blueway car park proposal.
In February, the Save Sean Healy Park Committee, comprised mainly of Treacy Park residents, initiated a Judicial Review challenge of the Carrick Regeneration Plan in the High Court because of the Blueway car park plan. The case is not due to be heard until later this year.
The omission of the Sean Healy Park car park proposal from the council’s RRDF application last week and the prospect of an alternative site being found for the Blueway visitors’ car park are significant game changers in this dispute.
Fianna Fáil’s Cllr Kieran Bourke, who is involved in the Save Sean Healy Park Committee, confirmed there has been communications between the committee’s legal team and the council’s legal representatives in relation to withdrawing the Sean Healy car park proposal. He welcomed the council’s decision to omit the Sean Healy Park car park proposal from the RRDF application.
However, he pointed out the judicial review challenge won’t be withdrawn unless they receive formal written confirmation of the withdrawal of the Sean Healy Park car park plan along with written confirmation that a car park will never be developed there. The committee is also seeking that the council pay its legal costs.
Mr Beck said the judicial review challenge didn’t prevent the county council from going ahead and submitting its RRDF grant application for the Carrick-on-Suir Regeneration Scheme. All that was required was for the regeneration scheme to have planning approval.
However, there is no doubt that such a legal challenge would have a negative impact on the council’s chances of securing funding.
Mary O'Shea, secretary of the Save Sean Healy Park Committee, said they can’t celebrate until they receive written confirmation that the council is withdrawing its plan to develop a car park on Sean Healy Park. But if it happens, she said they will be “absolutely delighted”.
The committee has been running a fundraising campaign including a weekly Split the Pot draw to finance the High Court challenge. It has also received donations from local people and organisations.
She stressed that their campaign was supported by the wider community in the town, not just the residents of her estate. “The people of the town were really behind us and that was great to know.”
Davins GAA Club secretary Niall Ryan confirmed that the club has “spoken informally” to the county council about the provision of car parking for Blueway visitors on its property. He stressed the communications between the club and council have been “purely verbal” at this stage.
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