County Development Plan Submission

 

 

Public Submission on the Wexford County Development Plan (2019 – 2025)

 

By

 

The School Community (Children, Parents/Guardians & Staff)

of

 

 

 

April 2017

 

 

Prepared by Shane Cadogan (teacher at Scoil Mhuire)

Summary of Issues Raised in County Development Plan Questionnaire

School Community Barntown

Introduction

Scoil Mhuire, Barntown recently took part in a whole school project involving the preparation of a submission for the Wexford County Development Plan 2019 – 2025. The questionnaires sought people’s input as to what they would like included in the forthcoming Plan, issues that presently need improvement, what their children would like to see included and their family’s specific needs. These were, in turn, circulated to all the children and staff of the Scoil Mhuire. All the children were encouraged to sit down with their families to discuss and complete the questionnaire together. The completed questionnaires are included in Appendix A of this submission.

Once collected, all submissions were read and summarised into the points attached. Numerous points were made by the school community but the most prevalent issues raised concerned the following areas:

  • The lack of adequate parks and open spaces in the County.
  • The need for proper child play facilities – improvement of play grounds and provision of extra play facilities for children of all ages.
  • Development of adequate family amenity space such as cycle and walking trails (A Greenway on the old Rosslare Harbour – Waterford line to connect with the Waterford Greenway)
  • Improvement of facilities at beaches, Johnstown Castle, the Quay and parks.
  • The issue of littering along rural roads and dog foul in public areas (The Quay & Ravens Point).
  • Provision of adequate secondary school supply to meet demand.
  • Development of a new 3rd Level Institute of Education for Wexford and the South East.
  • Promotion of tourism and new tourist initiatives (museums, walking trails, river activities, forest trails, adventure centres, aquariums etc.)
  • Improvement of health services.
  • Development of Rosslare Harbour as a major trading hub.
  • Retail expansion (shopping centres).
  • Economic development including attracting more Foreign Direct Investment, supporting local companies and establishing Wexford as a centre for certain industries (Green Energy, agriculture technology etc.) in order to create more jobs for the local population.
  • Road safety.

Details of all points raised by the Scoil Mhuire school community can be found in Appendix A. All issues raised have been categorised and summarised below. These issues represent the views of the school children (aged 4-12), their siblings, parents/guardians, members of the Barntown community and staff from different parts of the County. It is considered therefore, that the issues contained within this submission are broadly representative of the population for whom this plan will be prepared for.

We ask, therefore, that the Council attach due importance to all of the issues raised and summarised below.

  • Transport

 

  • Transport Links
    • Expansion of the local bus service.
    • Improve rail, bus and road links from Wexford to other major urban centres (particularly Cork).
    • Retain and improve the rail service from Rosslare to Dublin.
      • More frequent trains.
      • Safeguard and improve train service between Gorey and Rosslare Harbour.
      • Examine the potential of expanding this service to include more direct services between Rosslare, Wexford, Enniscorthy and Dublin.

 

  • Cycling
    • Introduction of new cycle lanes.
    • Cycle friendly road surfaces – many road surfaces in their present state are a danger to cyclists.
    • Develop cycle lane links from Wexford Town to the 3 roundabouts on the Ring Road and to Curracloe.

 

  • Traffic Congestion
    • Examine ways to alleviate traffic congestion along the Wexford Town Ring Road, particularly around the New Ross Road roundabout. Matches & races in Wexford Park & Wexford Race Course add to this problem as will future residential development along Newtown Road.
    • Safeguard against possible traffic problems at Kileens with introduction of school traffic for the new Loreto Secondary school.

 

  • Road safety
    • Develop footpaths and safe cycle links to all schools.
    • Extend footpaths along all routes out of major urban centres.
    • Reduce the speed limit on certain country roads – 80kmh is too high. Place appropriate speed limits on all roads.
    • Extension of traffic calming in Barntown to include the Slaney Manor junction and Larkins Cross. Develop a safe walking and cycle route along this section to enable people to walk and cycle to school within a safe environment. Reduce speed limit of this section to 50km per hour.
    • Development of a designated, supervised, driving training area or track where people of all ages (particularly 15-17 year olds) can learn how to drive.
    • Pedestrian crossing at the green in Bishopswater – reduce speed limit and increase signage along this route.
    • Improve safety of Larkins cross.
    • Improve footpaths around Ferrycarrig Bridge
    • Develop proper taxi ranks.
  • Street Lighting
    • Introduce street lighting along some of the main routes out of Wexford Town (e.g. Newtown Road) to improve pedestrian safety.

 

  • Parking
    • Improve parking facilities for Wexford Park.
    • Increase parking provision in Wexford town.

 

  • Roads
    • Improve condition of minor roads – repair potholes, re-surfacing, signage and road markings.
    • Re-open local road between Larkins Cross and Ferrycarrig.
    • Repair roads to a fit state after infrastructure works – eg Wexford to Castlebridge Road and Barntown N25 road.

 

  • Tourism

 

  • Johnstown Castle
    • Paying – should be a free public space.
    • Develop a playground for children of all ages in the grounds (Like Wells House and Malahide Castle).
    • Introduce paddle boats on the lake, a mini pet farm, weekly market etc. to make it a more child friendly amenity space.
    • Extend opening times.
    • Provide a bus service to link Wexford Town and surrounding areas with Johnstown Castle – link in this route with the Heritage Park.

 

  • Wexford Town
    • More planting of trees and plants
    • Improve street lighting around the town
    • Retail and commercial improvement (see economic section)
    • More litter bins and poop & scoop facilities.
    • Develop landmark buildings at prominent, presently vacant, sites.
    • Develop a water feature – restore the Old Swan or introduce a new feature.
    • Introduce artist murals on the gable ends of prominent Wexford buildings.
    • Promote initiatives whereby an artist or children from each GAA club paint a section of the external wall at Wexford Park to brighten its dull, breezeblock façade.
    • Introduce local initiatives to encourage the painting of houses in bright colours along the main routes into town – e.g. through the Faythe and the Distillery Road. Bright colour houses would lift the areas, utilise the towns’ topography to improve its visual amenity and add some colour to the town – e.g. Kinsale/Cobh. Similar initiatives could be extended to the Quay front and the rear of some buildings along Main Street that can be viewed when crossing Wexford Bridge.

 

  • Old Wexford Hospital
    • Develop as an Irish Famine Museum (make use of its historic links as a Famine Workhouse) – could be developed as part of a mixed use development including small scale retail and coffee shops/cafes to cater for the hospital population and local area (central location within close proximity to the town). This could tie in with the ‘Irish History Trail’ detailed below.

 

  • Enniscorthy
    • Develop an Irish History museum or 1916 museum in Enniscorthy Castle
    • Use Enniscorthy’s unique history (1798 Rebellion, Easter 1916 Rebellion etc) to develop it as an historic hub along the new Ancient East tourist route.
    • Develop better links and access from the town centre and 1798 Centre to Vinegar Hill, a site of historic importance.
    • Develop a shopping centre & new cinema within the town centre.
    • Create a public amenity space along the towns’ flood plain.
    • Examine the possibility of creating a walking loop along the river (as existing) and back into Enniscorthy via the old mills along the New Ross/ Enniscorthy road. The new by-pass would help to make this route safer.
    • Develop a 3rd level facility in the town.

 

  • Enniscorthy/River Slaney
    • Realise the potential of the River Slaney as a tourist attraction especially the picturesque area between Enniscorthy and Ferrycarrig.
      • Develop water sport activities, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, and river cruises, floating restaurants etc – also potential to develop similar activities along the River Barrow, north of New Ross.
      • Extend the existing river walk to Ferrycarrig – huge potential to develop and promote as an Irish history trail incorporating the Heritage Park, Brownswood (Eileen Gray), 1798 Centre, Vinegar Hill and Enniscorthy Castle (1916/Irish History Museum) (potential also to include the aforementioned Famine Museum in the Old Hospital). This would allow tourists to experience Irish History from pre Christian times right through to the present day on a unique historic trail while also bringing much needed revenue to Enniscorthy and Wexford Town. A high class recreational and amenity resource would also be provided for the local community.

 

  • Greenway link to Waterford
    • Develop the old rail line between Rosslare Harbour and Waterford as a walking/cycling greenway to tie in with the recently opened Waterford Greenway. This would provide a huge tourism and local amenity resource for the County while taking advantage of Wexford’s coastal location and climate. The success of the Westport to Achill Greenway shows the potential such a resource would provide particularly to areas such as Rosslare Harbour, Wellington Bridge, Ballycullane and Campile (non traditional tourist spots). A future linked Greenway between Rosslare Harbour and Cork would be a national and international attraction. The benefit of attracting people on cycling holidays, who could access such a greenway direct off a ferry from the UK and mainland Europe would be unique in Ireland and take advantage of the huge untapped European cycle tourism sector. This will enable tourists to bring their own bicycles on the ferry, for a cycling holiday along the southern coast with the option of returning on return ferry’s from Cork. Cycle links from the Greenway to New Ross (old railway line), Duncannon, and the Hook Peninsula could also be developed. It would provide employment opportunities for rural villages, offer a national tourist attraction while also improving linkages between Wexford and Cork.

 

  • Wexford Town Quay
    • Improve the appearance of buildings on the Quay, particularly Crescent Quay.
    • Introduction of water based activities along the quay front.
    • Encourage initiatives aimed at attracting suitable tenants for vacant quayside buildings.
    • Develop landmark buildings on prime, vacant, quayside sites (e.g. opposite Wexford bridge)
    • Improve & extend quay (as per recent redevelopment proposal)
    • Introduce seasonal high end coffee stall along quay front.
    • Prevent vehicular access (apart from fishermen) on the quay – better signage prohibiting such activity is needed.
    • Tackle issue of dog foul along the quay front – more bins, bag provision, enforcement of relevant laws & fines.
    • Replacement of dangerous and slippery timbers on quay side.
    • Introduce outdoor gym stations – similar to the recreational public space developed recently along the Dun Laoghaire coast.

 

  • Hook Lighthouse
    • New playground on the grounds of Hook Lighthouse
    • Possible location for a Sea-Life Aquarium

 

  • Improve Beach Facilities
    • Develop playgrounds
    • Sports facilities – volleyball, surfing, kayaking etc.
    • Toilet Facilities at beaches & the Raven
    • Beach Entertainment
    • Picnic Areas
    • Improve parking and car park security.
    • Improve beach access for cars.
    • Develop showering and changing facilities.
    • Camper van facilities.
      • Improve facilities for camper vans at beaches and other tourist attractions – huge numbers of campervans coming into the County through Rosslare. The lack of facilities for campervans results in them dispersing into other Counties, resulting in a loss of tourism revenue for Wexford.

 

  • Blackstairs Mountains
    • The Blackstairs Mountains is an area of natural beauty and one that is completely under-utilised at present. It is possible to walk from Bunclody to Ballywilliam (c.30km) and only cross one road. There is huge potential in designating this as a rural and mountain trail – using suitable stone/sleepers to define the route and improve accessibility. Examine the potential of linking this route with the existing St Mullins-Graignamanagh South Leinster walk and the Wicklow Way which extends from Dublin, through the Wicklow Mountains, and into nearby Tullow.

 

  • Improve tourist information facilities.
  • Harness Wexford’s potential (coastal location and good climate) as a hub for diverse outdoor pursuits.
  • Develop a Sea-life Education Centre/Aquarium at a suitable beach/coastal location

 

 

  • Education

 

  • Increase the provision of libraries and public study facilities throughout the County.
  • Develop education hubs for teachers and those with an interest in education to share resources and ideas.
  • Introduce Science Development Centres and Science Education Centres.
  • Schools to be supervised 30 mins before school starts and more after school options to help working parents.
  • Develop better recreational facilities around schools.

 

  • Primary Education Issues
    • Improved funding for education supplies, teachers, and resources.
    • Equalisation of funding, services and resources across all schools in the primary education system – help cut the costs of education on parents.
    • Develop more facilities and services to cater for the educational needs of children with special needs – increase no. of schools with ASD units.
    • Introduce a better streamlined service for children with special educational needs – O.T., speech therapy, psychology services on site in schools in order for all professionals to work together in an efficient manner.
    • Increase PE/Exercise classes in schools.
    • Introduce councillor services to all schools.
    • Incorporate ‘Mindfulness’ into the curriculum.
    • Availability of breakfast clubs for all schools.
    • More play centred learning.
    • Better services for dyslexic students.

 

  • Secondary Education Issues
    • Capacity
      • Develop a new co-ed secondary school in Wexford Town
      • Increase capacity of secondary schools, particularly boys schools to deal with demand – this will deal with the huge local issue of children not being admitted into their school of choice and having to commute significant distances in order to further their education.
      • Provide a subsidised bus service for rural schools to access services in town centres (library, Arts Centre, Theatre)
    • Change selection process for enrolment into secondary schools – proximity to school of choice should be important.

 

  • 3rd Level Education
    • Development of new 3rd Level College/IT/Technological University in County Wexford.

 

  • Adult Education
    • More educational classes for adults.
    • Classes during the day and evenings.
    • Day workshops for adults/parents to learn new skills.
    • Community based supports for ongoing adult education (early school leavers).
    • Support initiatives aimed at tackling the issue of education in disadvantaged areas and prevent early school leavers.

 

 

  • Family Amenity Facilities (also refer to Tourism points above)

 

  • Public Parks
    • Playgrounds for toddlers and older children
    • Dog Walking Facilities / Dog Park
    • Ring fenced, pet-free play areas in parks
    • Skatepark/bike park where children can learn how to skate and ride a bike
    • Basketball courts / public pitches / athletics tracks / hurling walls / tennis courts / 5-a side pitches
    • Picnic areas
    • Outdoor gym facilities
      • Gym stations
      • Kids gym stations

 

  • Cycle/walking tracks
    • Incorporate cycle tracks into the new park at Killeens.
  • The People’s Park in Waterford was highlighted by many as a model for Park development in the County – this comfortably accommodates playground facilities for toddlers and children along with public sports pitches and facilities and ample space for walking and pets.

 

  • Cycle & Walking Trails
    • Develop new trails and upgrade existing – use good signage and maps

 

  • Forest Parks
    • Develop family friendly forest parks to utilise the many forested areas in the County – walking trails, cycling & mountain biking trails, tree top/canopy walks, nature trails, group building activities, adventure playground (e.g. Clara Lara)etc.
    • Provide nature routes that embrace technology (e –signage) and educate children

 

  • Greenway link to Waterford (see Tourism section above)
    • Use the old railway line from Rosslare Harbour to Waterford to develop a walk and cycle greenway to link with the recently opened Waterford to Dungarvan Greenway.

 

  • Bridle Paths/Horse Areas
    • Provide designated horse riding areas and develop/improve bridle paths to tap into Wexford’s rich equine tradition.

 

  • Redevelop of Quarry on Forth Mountain
    • Quarry currently in a dangerous state and home to illegal dumping.
    • Transform quarry into an outdoor adventure centre and tourist attraction.

 

  • Subsidise entrance into family recreational activities to attract more people – similar to the recent discounted family admission deal for the Heritage Park.
  • Increase open farms and link to agricultural education centres for children.

 

  • Leisure & Sports Facilities/Services

 

  • Increase the provision and range of leisure facilities
    • Develop a greater range of public sporting facilities with access for all.
    • Improve access to sports facilities for those who are not members of sports clubs.
    • Improve range of sporting facilities in public spaces – athletics track, basketball, tennis, volleyball (at beaches), sailing, fishing, swimming, bowls, rugby etc. along with 5-aside playing pitches for GAA and soccer.
    • Develop an additional swimming public pool and gym.

 

  • Develop a public sports facility for the County similar to the Watershed Facility in Kilkenny – can accommodate track and field sports with a full size running track, indoor pool and water play facilities, pitches, indoor courts, gym and fitness classes.
  • Outdoor Gym Facilities in parks, along running/walking routes and public spaces (Quay).
  • Develop a Wexford based Basketball Club.

 

 

  • Child Playing Facilities
    • Develop more spaces and child playing facilities in small towns and villages.
    • Expand indoor facilities for children – presently on rainy days options are limited to Playzone or the Cinema.
    • Develop an X-box/Playstation gaming arcade where gamers can meet and play.

 

  • Existing Playgrounds
    • Improve and clean as some are presently dirty and in a state of disrepair.
    • Design playgrounds with separate play areas for toddlers & younger children (3-6) and older children (7-12)
    • Expand existing playgrounds for children of all ages
    • Develop playgrounds in estates especially where part of the original planning permission –e.g. Coill Aoibhinn

 

  • New Play Facilities
    • Skate Park.
    • Trampoline Park.
    • Hurling walls.
    • A Children’s Garden.
    • Water Adventure Park.
    • Indoor Playground.

 

  • Playgrounds for small children
    • Thomas the Tank engine / Pokemon themed play equipment.
    • Toddler stations – sand pits.

 

  • Playgrounds for older Children
    • Climbing Frames, balance obstacles, zip lines etc.

 

 

 

  • Teenage Group Facilities.
    • Gaming facilities
    • Develop youth clubs and activity centres for teenagers – develop places where teenagers can drop in, study, have a coffee, play games and meet other young people.
    • Public recreational spaces in parks – playing pitches / basketball / tennis courts / skateboard & bike parks etc.

 

  • Health

 

  • Health Services/Hospital
    • Improve health facilities throughout the County – O.T/Speech Therapy/ Mental Health/dental & social services etc. are completely understaffed with chronic wait times.
    • Development of better hospital facilities – increase no. of beds in Wexford hospital and reduce A & E waiting times.
    • Invest in cardiac facilities for Wexford Hospital.
    • Swift completion of the proposed Dialysis Unit.
    • Reduce waiting lists – more consultants are needed to service the health needs of Wexford’s population.
    • Affordable Health Care.
    • Develop a crematorium facility for the County.

 

  • Special Needs / Disability Services
    • Improve services for children with special needs – increase the number of health care professionals for children with special needs – collaborating with teachers and families with a focus on life skills training.
    • Adult training in the provision of continual care for children and their transition into adulthood with the goal of attaining employment and independent living for the disabled.
    • More school places for children with special needs – many children are left on waiting lists to get into a school suitable for their requirements, especially children with ASD.
    • Accessible tourism and recreational amenities for people with disabilities.
    • Improve disabled access for public amenity facilities –e.g. beaches, parks, public buildings etc.

 

  • Mental Health Services
    • Provision of a 24/7 mental health service.
    • Introduction of a central source/co-ordinating body of mental health services.
    • Urgent need for facilities to help children and adolescents suffering from depression and other mental health illnesses (current waiting list of approx. 3 years is unacceptable).

 

  • The Elderly
    • Development of a retirement village where the local elderly population could avail of services and benefits specific to their needs.
    • Develop centres where the elderly can gather and socialise in the evenings, one that enables them to be collected and dropped home afterwards.
    • Support for day care centres and community services for the elderly.

 

  • Emergency Services
    • Expand the existing emergency services
    • Develop a bigger Lifeboat Station.

 

 

  • Environmental

 

  • Flooding & Drainage
    • Improve drainage of sites during development.
    • Restrict development of flood plains.
    • Increase flood defence works for areas at risk – e.g. Enniscorthy.

 

  • Smokey Coal – ban to be enforced more stringently.
  • Community ownership of renewable energy projects – community to develop such projects and all proceeds/profit would go back into the local area rather than private energy interests.
  • Compulsory consultation with residents before submission of solar/wind farm applications.
  • Plan for effects of climate change.
  • Planting of additional trees throughout villages and urban centres.
  • Designate allotments where people can grow vegetables and fruit

 

  • Protect our Natural Landscapes
    • Prevent hedge cutting during nesting times.
    • Monitor the dangerous spraying of Round-Up.
    • Litter:
      • Higher fines and enforcement for illegal dumping of rubbish.
      • Better education as regards the impact of littering.
      • Clean up litter blackspots.
      • Provision of more bins in public areas that are emptied at appropriate intervals to enable the disposal of rubbish.
      • More recycling centres
    • Dog Foul
      • More Dog Bins
      • New Dog Park
      • Improve Quay area, beaches & Ravens Point from dog foul pollution

 

 

  • Communications – Broadband

 

  • Improve Broadband service to all Rural Areas – huge barrier to economic and educational progress.

 

 

  • Arts & Heritage

 

  • Introduce more performance and cultural spaces into public spaces and parks.
  • More art and sculptures in public open spaces.
  • Increase funding for arts & heritage projects in the County.
  • Develop landmark vacant buildings as cultural spaces/venues.
  • Increase gallery spaces and expand the provision of art and craft workshops for local artists.
  • Promote Wexford Park as an outdoor concert/event venue (similar to Nowlan Park, KK) – generate more money for the town.

 

  • Protect the County’s Building Heritage
    • Find suitable uses for the Old Wexford Hospital (Famine Museum?) and St Senan’s (Health facility, 3rd Level Institution etc.)
    • Protect buildings of rich heritage – e.g. thatched cottages of South County Wexford – provide adequate funding to help maintain such buildings.
    • Retain the character of our town centres through careful consideration of future uses, shop front design and the pedestrianisation of areas.

 

 

  • Economic

 

  • Incentivise the relocation of business’s to Wexford (reduced rates/tax breaks etc.)
  • Promote the county as an attractive option for companies to relocate or start. Use its location, close access to a post Brexit European market, transport links (Port /improving road infrastructure) and proximity to Dublin to highlight it as an attractive, alternative location for business.
  • Develop a proper Farmers Market.
  • Support for small towns & villages for the creation of new businesses and employment.
  • Increase level of manufacturing industries in the County.
  • Concentrate on the development of specific economic sectors (Green energy / I.T/Agricultural & Food Technology) to create an economic hub for such sectors.
    • Use the strong agricultural tradition and presence of Teagasc and the EPA to help develop a strong agricultural technology sector.
    • Use Wexford’s advantageous location (coasts on to the south and east/close proximity to UK and mainland Europe etc.) to become a market leader for the green energy sector. Wind, solar and wave energy development could potentially be produced locally, used and/or exported to the UK and European markets.

 

  • Rosslare Europort
    • Promote and develop Rosslare Harbour as Ireland’s (post Brexit) gateway to the EU and vice versa. Expand the harbour to cater for increased trade and tourism.
    • Use the area and its transport links to attract FDI to the County.
    • Develop the Harbour as a hub for trade and transport logistics.
    • Improve the village of Rosslare Harbour – too many vacant lots and buildings – area in serious need of renewal.
    • Improvement of links between the Rosslare Harbour and Rosslare Strand – develop coastal trail linking the two areas.

 

  • Commercial Rates
    • Reduce rates to help retailers and the local business community.
    • Support small businesses and town centre retail.

 

  • Retail/Commercial Property
    • Development of a New Indoor Shopping Centre (Wexford Town)
    • Glazed Cover of Wexford’s Main Street to provide a unique shopping environment within the centre of the town.
    • Encourage office and residential use on the upper floors of town centre properties – a lot of these are vacant and providing such a use would add more vibrancy and vitality to the town centre in the evenings.
    • Develop more industrial space designated specifically for start-up/sole trader/small scale employers – create such hubs to reduce costs and encourage more start-ups.
    • Encourage seasonal pop up shops/cafes particularly along the Quayfront
    • Restaurants – more diversity
      • Nandos / Supermacs etc.
    • Attract More High Street Retailers to the County
      • Harvester / Marks & Spencer / H&M / Next etc.

 

  • Housing

 

  • Homelessness – more support and initiatives for tackling the housing problem – greater supply of social & affordable housing, more diverse building stock, housing agencies and development of vacant housing stock/estates.
  • Private Housing
    • Improve standards of private housing stock to meet rental market

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appendix A

 

 

 

Completed Questionnaires from Members of the Scoil Mhuire School Community.