Urgently Solve Parking Issues As Part Of New Extension Of Car-Beach Ban Is My Message To Meath County Council
I welcome the decision at our last full Council meeting to extend the car-ban on our Meath beaches for the next 6 months with a view to then make the ban permanent later in the year once parking issues have been resolved.
Our beaches will remain car-free over the Summer months with an exemption for those with disabilities and the elderly who will still be able to park on the beach. I am happy to have secured a commitment from Meath County Council to now focus on providing parking solutions. Every effort must now be made to expedite the provision of alternative and additional parking in Laytown, Bettystown and Mornington. When the parking solutions are in place, the permanent car ban will come into effect. This is the most sensible approach.
There is no doubt that the car-free beach has enhanced the beach environment in Bettystown and made it much safer for children. I have young children myself and have enjoyed the car-free beach on numerous occasions over the past year. It has been a wonderful experience. The future of the beach is most definitely car-free and so it should be.
Those who have a disability and the elderly should be allowed to park on the beach in a properly regulated and safe way and on an appropriately sized section that is managed. The current arrangement is not working and is not adequate to meet those needs. There is also the question of facilitating those with intellectual disabilities whose families do not qualify for the blue parking badge. I know of families with children with Special Needs who feel excluded from the beach and this is unfair and needs to be addressed. I have asked the Council to look at resolving this.
I am pleased to see that Meath County Council are also working on proposals to regulate car parking in Mornington following lobbying by me and local residents. An improved beach environment free of cars should benefit everybody including those with disabilities, our senior citizens, local business and with strong community engagement, there are real opportunities to maximise the huge potential of our beautiful Meath coastline. Simply banning cars and not doing anything else however is merely transferring the problem somewhere else; like along the Golf Links Road or on Crook Road, Mornington where on busy Summer days last year, cars were parked anywhere and everywhere and blocking people’s homes. This has to end and I look forward to continuing my work on behalf of residents towards a resolution to these issues in the very near future.
Campaign For A New Playground For Donacarney
I tabled a motion at our most recent local area meeting asking Meath County Council to immediately begin planning and preparing for the provision of a new playground on Council-owned land beyond Glen Boann housing estate, opposite Maydenhayes, on Church Road, Donacarney. Due to time constraints, the motion was deferred until our May meeting when I will get the opportunity to make the case.
As we all know, there is a serious lack of public amenities and community infrastructure in the area to serve the existing and future local population. The site in question on Church Road is ideal in my view as it is within walking distance of many local housing developments and close also for residents in the Colpe area. I previously tabled a motion during the County Development Plan meetings, which was passed, seeking the designation of a playground on this site on behalf of local residents. In their response to date, the Council have told me that it may be possible to commence the planning/design element of this project later in the year subject to funding. I am hopeful that with the support of the public and my Council colleagues, this project can be prioritised and progressed as a new playground is badly needed in the area.
Julianstown Traffic Calming Scheme
We received an update on the proposed Julianstown Traffic Calming Scheme at our local area Council meeting in April. This scheme aims to address traffic and road safety issues through Julianstown and improve the local environment for residents. The scheme is badly needed.
Though there has been a recent reduction in traffic passing through Julianstown as result of Covid-19, traffic volumes are still high and will only get higher as restrictions ease, having a negative impact on the quality of life in the village. I fully support a Bypass as part of a long-term solution.
The proposed Traffic Calming Scheme involves traffic calming of the main road through Julianstown through widening of footpaths, narrowing the carriageway, reduction of junction diameters and improving bus stops and pedestrian crossings. I am disappointed that traffic lights at both the Duleek and Laytown junctions which I had been calling for on behalf of residents, have not been included.
The proposed traffic calming scheme includes the following elements:
- A raised pedestrian crossing on the R132 road through Julianstown just south of the R132/R150 Laytown road junction.
- A raised table at the R132/R150 Duleek road junction.
- A raised pedestrian crossing on the R132 just south of the R132/R150 Duleek road junction.
- A raised table at the junction of the R132 and the L-16161/L-5622 beside Whitecross National School
- A new shared surface (for pedestrians and cyclists) along the East side of the R132
- Additional footpaths to the West side of the R132
- Bus-stop upgrades
- Additional kerbing, signage, road markings, landscaping and ancillary works.
It is now proposed to make a formal application under Section 177AE of the Planning and Development Act 200 to An Bord Pleanala for the traffic calming scheme. The planning process is expected to take around 24 weeks between statutory display periods and receipt of a decision from An Bord Pleanala. Residents will be able to have a say as part of this planning process. I will be making my own detailed submission on behalf of local residents so please get in touch with me to discuss or if you have any concerns. Subject to receipt of planning permission, it is proposed to construct the scheme over a number of phases.
Footpath Works In Coney Hall
I am told by Meath County Council that the footpath works that I secured for Coney Hall are now close to completion (at the time of writing). These improvements were badly needed and I thank local residents for working with me on getting this job done.
Naming Of The New Spine Road
The issue of naming the Spine Road came up at our last Council meeting on the back of a suggestion made by Hubert Murphy recently in the Drogheda Independent. As someone who grew up in the area, I have fond memories of the Sam Maguire being brought to Donacarney NS in the late eighties by the Meath team. Local players Robbie O’Malley and Bernard Flynn were part of that famous team, had incredible careers and both left a huge positive mark representing both St.Colmcille’s and our County team. I said at the meeting that naming the road ‘Flynn-O’Malley Way’ would be a wonderful way to recognise those achievements. Of course, there are other local people deserving of such recognition too. In the end, it was agreed to proceed with Meath County Council’s proposal to contact all local schools in the Laytown/Bettystown, invite proposed names and then allow these names to be voted on by the general public during the month of May. There will be a prize for the school that nominates the successful entry.
You can call, text or WhatsApp me directly on 086 0432760 or should you prefer, email me at email@example.com or through Facebook at Cllr Stephen McKee. I am able to provide all state documents/applications via email and WhatsApp. Take care, Stephen.