Campaigners for the Lee to Sea Greenway in Cork have welcomed the move by county councillors last night to approve a 2.2km section of the greenway in Carrigaline despite significant opposition.
Councillors voted to approve the Part 8 planning permission for the greenway and a wider new public realm scheme called the Carrigaline Transportation Public Realm Enhancement Plan.
The plan for the greenway route via green areas in some housing estates in the town is understood to pre-date the building of houses in the estates, but there was strong opposition from some residents, with some telling the Irish Examiner that the council were “ramming” the greenway into their community.
Local newspaper, Carrigdhoun, reported that ahead of the approval there was a considerable number of submissions were made in opposition to the proposed route at Bridgemount and Heron’s Wood. It reported that there was “a residents’ committee established to oppose the plans” and this gained strong support from within their respective estates.
Council management told councillors that suggested alternative routes would cost millions extra, not be as well connected, and have a higher impact on biodiversity and the environment more generally. Officials promised that they would install ducting to support the future installation of CCTV.
Dean Venables, a member of the Cork Cycling Campaign and one of the leads of the Lee to Sea group sub-campaign, said that advocates for the greenway “warmly welcomed the decision by Cork County councillors to approve the Carrigaline plan”.
He said that the plans include a key active travel corridor that would in time become part of the Lee to Sea Greenway.
Venables acknowledged the concerns about anti-social behaviour along a 100 m corridor between houses led to some residents opposing the plans, but he said that a well-used route would be “an effective deterrent to anti-social behaviour while providing attractive leisure and transport options for Carrigaline residents.”
“The scheme will be a huge benefit to residents of the town and especially those living close to the route. It would raise property values, provide a high-quality walking and cycling route serving a number of schools, and help reduce traffic congestion in one of Ireland’s most traffic-benighted towns,” he said.
It was claimed that the walking and cycling route might damage property prices, but experts point to the opposite happening.
In a 2017 article for the Dublin Inquirer, TU Dublin lecturer David O’Connor wrote that residents often claim greenways will decrease proprty value, but he said “experiences from other countries tell us the opposite is likely to be the case. Greenways, it seems, are an amenity and they make an area more, not less, attractive to potential buyers.”
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He referenced 2004 academic study in the US that suggested greenways “may indeed positively affect proximate properties’ sales prices, in the most positive case to the extent of one fifth of value”.