Council criticised over Waterville car park plans

Sinead Kelleher

A 74-year-old woman, whose home backs on to council lands currently planned to be transformed into a car park, has criticised Kerry County Council over what many feel is a lack of consultation on the project.

Joan Courtney lives in house on the Main Street in Waterville, which backs on to a green area currently proposed by Kerry County Council as a car park for the village. She feels that her concerns, which include fears of anti-social behaviour, are being ignored.

"Nobody has come to my door, and my house backs on to the proposed car park. I am very, very upset," she told The Kerryman this week.

"We have never objected or gone against anything, but we do not want a car park behind our house," added her daughter, Miriam. 

The area in question is used for festivals and is a valuable green area that should not be developed as a car park, according to those against the proposals. They want Kerry County Council to look at resurfacing the current car park or to examine other solutions to traffic and car parking in the village of Waterville. 

"This green area is part of the scenery of Waterville," said Mrs Courtney. 

"It will cause a disturbance at night and, I fear that there will be anti-social behaviour.

"This is causing a divide in village."

Kerry County Council stated last week that they have consulted with the local community and that further consultation will take place when plans are finalised for the car park. The council owns the lands on which the new car park is to be located. 

"The development of any project of this nature will involve a formal public planning process including a public consultation process, where any party wishing to have their views considered is entitled to do so," said a spokesperson for the local authority. 

The project, they say, is at an early stage and a full public consultation process will take place when the plans are drawn up for the proposed works. Funding of €200,000 has been granted under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme - funds which have caused anger to those who are opposed to the project. 

It has been claimed that up to 30 businesses are against the plans to extend the car park in Waterville, and an online petition has been signed by more than 800 people who want to save the green area. A group called Waterville Save our Seafront (SOS) is also in place. 

Several businesses are also in favour of the  development due to concerns over traffic congestion in the village and the lack of bus parking during the summer months in the busy seaside location.