Saturday 24 February 2018

Fears district will be left behind

David Looby

Concern was expressed at the recent New Ross Municipal District Council meeting that New Ross will not receive the same capital funding as other towns in the county, at a meeting on Wexford County Council's upcoming three year capital programme plan.

Included in the draft plan is €2,000,000 for a New Ross town centre enhancement programme, €1.2m for the New Ross to Waterford Greenway, €1,750,000 for the New Ross to Mount Elliott red bridge Greenway, €100,000 for a Hook to New Ross off road greenway and €500,000 for advance factory units in Butlersland industrial estate, New Ross.

No funding is allocated in the plan for public amenities and facilities in the district, while €9,800,000 has been allocated to various centres across the county. No money is allocated towards corporate buildings either, whereas, for example, €1,100,000 is allocated to refurbishment works at Enniscorthy courthouse.

Cllr John Fleming said around €1m less than expected is being allocated to the New Ross district in the current draft plan, pointing out that the initial plan was to allocate €2.5m to the town centre enhancement programme. He queried when the industrial buildings in Butlersland will be built, saying money is being allocated over a three year period.

Cllr Michael Sheehan said the plan is a wish list. He said: 'I know Wexford is slightly bigger but we should look for close to, if not equal, to the same amount (as they will get).'

He called for funding for the refurbishment of the old courthouse on the corner of Cross Street to be included in the programme.

Cllr Oisin O'Connell said there is a disparity in funding, pointing out that over €6m in funding is being allocated to the Rosslare Harbour to Waterford railway line, while the total sum allocated to housing is around €3,750,000.

Cllr O'Connell said the development of freight train routes from the west of the country into Rosslare needs to be considered in light of Brexit.

Cllr Larry O'Brien said an advance factory should be the number one priority.

The need for more street lighting and better footpaths was raised and district director Eamonn Hore said Wexford County Council is taking out a large loan to help meet these costs over the coming years.

Cllr Martin Muprhy expressed concern that the Rosslare greenway could affect the rail line, where a freight train could run if sufficient funding is provided. 'If Rosslare Europort is going to be developed, as planned, we need a line of access to it for trains,' he said.

Mr Hore said a feasibility study if being carried out of the route. 'We are not saying it (the rail route) is never going to come back.'

He said the capital programme is revised every year. 'If 25 per cent of what is in the report is realised the New Ross district will be doing really well. Most of the big ticket items are in there. Most of these rely on funding from other sources, but it's important that we have the plans in place for when there is funding available. That is why we are moving a lot of things to Part 8 planning and assessment.'

He said €4m in funding is being obtained by the local authority to erect and repair lights across the county. 'There are loads of things that we will get money for and further sources of funding like the Village Renewal Scheme.'

New Ross Standard

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