Update from Wicklow County Council Meeting 1st November 2021
Apologies for the delay in getting this information up for everyone, it’s been a very busy week. This update provides a brief overview of items discussed; hoverer further information is available if you require it.
The following items were discussed / presented at our Wicklow County Council meeting on Monday.
We have moved to hybrid meetings with a limited number in the Council Chamber and other members online. The hybrid approach is working well and my thanks to the officials and Wicklow County Council Cathaoirleach Shay Cullen for making it a smooth and inclusive process.
N11/M11 Bus Priority Interim Scheme
A Section 85 Agreement between Wicklow County Council & Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County for the N11/M11 Bus Priority Interim Scheme was agreed.
The severity of traffic congestion issues on the N11/M11, particularly at peak travel times, in conjunction with public feedback, requires an early intervention to start addressing the problems on the corridor.
Accordingly, a project to assess the feasibility of providing bus lanes on the N11/M11 corridor is progressing. If feasible, bus lanes could offer a practicable interim solution in advance of the main N11/M11 Junction 4 to Junction 14 Improvement Scheme.
This separate project, entitled the N11/M11 Bus Priority Interim Scheme, is a multi-authority project involving Wicklow County Council, Transport Infrastructure Ireland, National Transport Authority and Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council.
The N11/M11 Bus Priority Interim Scheme is being implemented in accordance with Transport Infrastructure Ireland’s Project Management Guidelines and aims to deliver bus priority measures on the N11/M11 national road in the form of a dedicated lane that can be used by buses/coaches during peak periods to avoid congested traffic lanes.
The project is currently in Phase 2 (Option Selection) and work is progressing on the development of feasible design options for the provision of bus lanes along the existing N11/M11 route from Loughlinstown roundabout in the north to Junction 9 (Glenview) in the south.
The Project Team has now released Bulletin No.1 on the scheme website www.n11m11.ie which provides an introduction and progress update on the scheme.
NOAC Local Authority Performance Indicator Report 2020
NOAC provides independent oversight on the local government sector. It looks at 42 separate indicators to judge services. Wicklow County Council improved its services across a range of indicators despite the challenges that Covid brought. In addition, they established the Community Call service which supported more than 1,795 individuals during the pandemic. The Council staff were complimented for the work they have undertaken and their commitment to the County.
Chief Executive Report
The Chief Executive provided a report on all activities carried out by the Council over the last month. Councillors they have an opportunity to raise issues relating to the report or seek clarification. The report is available online at www.wicklow.ie
Some highlights from this month’s report and issues raised included –
· There are now 10 CPOs underway on long term vacant houses around the county. In the case of Bray MD area there is one property No. 108 Charnwood, Bray. An Oral Hearings has been heard on the 17th of August and determination by An Bord Pleanála is due on 30th November.
· Energy Efficiency Fabric Upgrade Phase 2 - Works on 20 properties in Wolfe Tone Square West, Bray, nearing completion
· Library Services Updates
Mending Workshops Bray Library - In a world of fast fashion, mending favourite garments is a practical, accessible, and enjoyable way to engage with the ethical path of repairing, reusing, and recycling. Bray Library hosted three Zoom workshops in early September, each one focussing on an aspect of mending. Included were the practices of visible mending, darning and slow stitch
Neuro-divergent Webinar Series, Bray Library - Wicklow County Council Library Service, in partnership with Healthy Ireland hosted a series of webinars on the topic of “Parenting Neuro-divergent Children”. The facilitator was Claire O’Neill who is a coach with ‘Thriving Autistic’, a Deputy Principal, an autistic person, and a parent to autistic children. Claire’s broad range of experience shone through each evening, as she answered questions from parents with compassion, humour, and insight.
· Wicklow Sports & Recreation Partnerships
Online Yoga for Teenagers with Lucena Clinic – Child and Youth Mental Health Services - A 6-week programme started in October for Teenagers who are clients with Lucena, Wicklow Town and Bray Clinics.
· Bray Central
Due to Covid-19 there has been some impact on the works and program. These impacts have been assessed over the last few weeks and the main contractor has commenced back with works on site. The overall works are coming to a close and practical completion is anticipated to be before the 31st of January 2022. The crane removal has marked the end of large elements of the construction work. Heads of terms have gone out to several new retail and leisure tenants. To date, there is excellent interest from a number of operators for the smaller retail units.
· Bray Harbour Area Integrated Regeneration
Funding of €7.14m has been announced for the Bray Harbour Area Integrated Regeneration Project from the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF) and this funding has the capacity to unlock the great potential of Bray Harbour and surrounding area. The harbour, its piers and adjacent lands are a major asset for Bray and this funding will facilitate an integrated scheme to develop the harbour and associated public realm works to provide a vibrant waterfront area with excellent connectivity between the promenade, the town centre the Dublin Road area and beyond. Wicklow County Council is in the process of appointing consultants to carry out additional survey work as part of the design process. Work is ongoing to further develop the unsuccessful applications for Wicklow and Arklow Harbours. A meeting with the Department of Housing URDF Team has taken place, this will inform the resubmission of these applications. It is likely that the next call for URDF funding will be late 2021/early 2022.
· There are a number of Offshore Wind Energy projects proposed off the coast of County Wicklow
Dublin Array – Bray and Kish Banks
Cailleach – off Bray Head
Codling Wind Park between Greystones and Wicklow
· Wicklow Biodiversity Action Funding of €29,950 allocated under the National Biodiversity Action Plan fund based on application submitted by Heritage Officer. Three projects are being funded to enhance conservation management of council owned properties, 1 at Brittas Bay, 2 at selected historic graveyards and 3 at Kilmacanogue marsh. All projects commenced June- July with botanical, bat, and invertebrate surveys. Public open event held on Sat 18th September at Brittas Bay. Access improvements planned in Kilmacanogue Marsh in association with Bray MD in Oct. Recoupment and Final reports due in November.
· Bray Strand Road Cycle Route – Works are substantially complete on the Seafront Plaza with road marking, bollard installation, planting, minor repairs and snagging still to be completed.
· Bray Dart Interchange – Atkins Consulting Engineers are currently finalising the detail design for this project. It is anticipated that the detail design will be completed in October.
· Bus Priority in Little Bray – Topographical and GPR Surveying work have been completed along with the traffic parking surveys. DBFL Consulting Engineers have commenced work on the concept development of the scheme.
· Kilmacanogue to Southern Cross Road Greenway – RPS Consulting Engineers are working on the Revised Options Assessment Report. Topographical surveys have been completed and Ecological surveys are being undertaken. Site investigation works are to commence in the coming weeks.
· Southern Cross Road Improvement Scheme – Barry Transportation has completed the Feasibility Report and have commenced the Options Assessment Stage. Topographical and GPR Surveys have been carried out.
· Bray Sustainable Transport Bridge Wicklow County Council held a public consultation of the Part 8 process for Bray Sustainable Transport Bridge Project. This process is currently suspended while An Bord Pleanala considers the request that an Environmental Impact Assessment is carried out for the scheme.
Presentation on Customer Care Hub
The members received a presentation on Wicklow County Council’s new Customer Care Hub. This one shop stop for customer contacts has been growing from strength to strength since its creation. Staff seen an increase in contacts over the last year with Housing and Planning queries remaining the highest.
Staff have also received training and are engaged in the A-D Caller initiative (Able Disable Caller) which assists Customers/Tenants with a disability to access services easily with understanding and patience.
The Customer Service has a dedicated e-mail address email@example.com and can be contacted at the Councils number on 0404 20100.
River Water Quality
Only 53% of our surface water bodies nationally have satisfactory water quality. Since 2015 river water quality has declined by 5.5% nationally.
In Wicklow, water quality improved by 7% in the same period and currently 64% of our waters are at good or high status.
Presentation on the development of the Content Creation Hub
REDF investment of €1.43m matched by WCC
• Clermont Enterprise Hub CLG set up to oversee construction and operation.
• Construction has commenced and is due to be completed Q3 2022
• Provision for a Hub Manager for 3 years, recruitment start Q1/Q2 2022
• Promotion and building of tenant pipeline Q1/Q2 2022
• Provide specialised sector specific business supports that drive start-ups, growth and internationalisation of Irish content creation businesses and sub supply business servicing the sector.
• Leverage the skills and expertise already present
• To support and strengthen screen sector in the Region resulting in a strong regional level enterprise ecosystem & cluster.
• Contribute to the positioning of Ireland as a global Hub in screen content creation.
As always if anyone has any queries regarding an item covered at this meeting, please do not hesitate to get in touch.