Update from Wicklow County Council meeting on Monday 2nd October 2023
Wicklow held its monthly meeting on Monday the 2nd of October. This report highlights some key discussions. As always it does not cover every item discussed but gives more of an overview, if you would like to see more details these can be accessed on the Councils website.
If any item is unclear or you would like additional information, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Chief Executive (CE) Report for September
This report is provided by the Chief Executive every month and details all the activities that the Council have undertaken. It is really useful and helps to understand the huge scope of services that are being provided. At the Council meeting Councillors have an opportunity to raise issues in the report and seek further clarity. The following highlights some of the items that were raised.
· Homebond issues for new Affordable Homes at Greenhills Rd., Wicklow
· Update sought on Blessington Greenway & Arklow Flood Relief Scheme
· Vacancies in Cost Rental homes in Greystones
· Safety issues for motorists due to overhanging trees from private property.
· Update sought on Councils planned work to tackle the need for Youth Housing
· Derelict Buildings
An update was given on the Cliff Walk between Bray & Greystones which has been raised on numerous occasions with me and I know that many people are really missing this public access.
Four landowners are involved in the rerouting of some of the walk onto private land and the Council confirmed that discussions have progressed well. This piece of the work is being manged by Greystones MD. Bray MD confirmed that they have appointed consultants to develop a tender so that the Council can tender for rock netting and other works which will also be required. Although a date for the Cliff Walk reopening was not available it was certainly good to hear that work was progressing. This item will continue to be on the CE Report ever month so that we can track it.
Presentation on Draft Climate Action Plan 2024 – 2029
A presentation on the Draft Climate Action Plan 2024 – 2029 was received prior to the draft plan going on public display. The below image shows where this plan fits into the overall approach and responsibility we all have in this area.
There have been a vast number of stakeholders already engaged in this process including (among others)
Climate & Biodiversity Action Strategic Policy Committee of Wicklow County Council
Planning Development & Environment Strategic Policy Committee of Wicklow County Council
Kildare, Meath & Louth County Council
Public Participation Network
Children and Young Peoples Assembly
An Taisce (Safe Routes to School)
The draft plan includes 5 themes, 144 Actions to be completed within a 5-year timeframe. Other points highlighted during the presentation were.
• Actions will be monitored and reviewed Annually or even quarterly
• The Actions will prioritise the core work of the Local Authority
• However further measures may be added or updated.
• Funding and Staff resources present as a major obstacle for Councils.
• Wicklow Council have been doing a lot of positive works in relation to Climate
Change as confirmed within Stakeholder engagement.
• The Climate Action Plan will bring greater focus on the positive work the Council do.
The plan is now on public display from 3rd October until the 15th of November and feedback is being sought from the wider public.
It is then planned that it will go to the Climate & Biodiversity Action Strategic Policy Committee of Wicklow County Council in late November, before going to the Council’s Corporate Policy Group and then to the full Council for adoption in December or January.
If you would like to view the draft plan and make a submission you can do this through the Councils website at https://www.wicklow.ie/Living/ConsultationHub or at County Buildings, Station Road, Wicklow Town, A67 FW96, Monday to Friday (excluding Bank Holidays) between the hours of 9:00am to 5:00pm
Printed copies for viewing at Wicklow County Council Libraries (Arklow, Baltinglass Blessington, Bray and Greystones) during their respective normal opening hours.
Members of the Climate Action Team will be at Public Consultation Drop-In Clinics to provide guidance on the Draft Climate Action Plan at the following locations:
· Baltinglass Library Tuesday 10th October from 3-5pm
· Blessington Library Tuesday 10th October from 6-8pm
· Arklow Library Tuesday 17th October from 6-8pm
· Bray Library Thursday 19th October from 6-8pm
· Wicklow Library Tuesday 24th October from 6-8pm
· Greystones Library Tuesday 07th November from 6-8pm
Written submissions or observations regarding the Draft Climate Action Plan, SEA Environmental Report and AA Natura Impact Report, are invited from members of the public and other interested parties.
You can make a submission or observation between 3rd October to 16:30pm on the Wednesday, 15th November 2023 inclusive, through the following options only:
A written submission can be made electronically through the Council’s Public Consultation Portal https://www.wicklow.ie/Living/ConsultationHub up to 16:30pm on the 15th of November 2023.
In writing to the Climate Action Coordinator at Climate Action Office, Wicklow County Council, County Buildings Station Road, Wicklow Town, A67 FW 96 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org up to 16:30pm on the 15th of November 2023.
Adoption of the County Wicklow Local Economic & Community Plan 2023 to 2028
The County Wicklow Local Economic & Community Plan is best described by Deidre Whitfield of Wicklow County Council who has led on this piece of work as the funnel that shapes National Policy into a local context, adding value to existing services and filling gaps in services.
The plan has gone through extensive public and stakeholder consultation and although Wicklow County Council were one of the first Local Authorities to develop their plan, they were commended for not rushing it and taking the time to develop it with communities.
The Plan was adopted at the meeting and now comes into effect. It can be viewed on the Councils website and copies can be made available on request.
(Six High-Level Goals for the Wicklow LECP 2023-29)
Adoption of the County Wicklow Disability & Inclusion Strategy 2023 to 2028
As a member of Wicklow County Council DISC (Disability & Inclusion Steering Committee) I was thrilled to see this strategy finally come to the Council for adoption.
Wicklow have continued to lead the way in the area of inclusion. They are the only local authority with a structured relationship with the Disability Federation Ireland (DFI) and have engaged the services of DFI to support their work. They are the first local authority to have changing places in public buildings and to have a plan to include these facilities in more places. They are the first local authority to introduce the sunflower lanyard and will be the first to introduce hidden disability parking spaces.
Now Wicklow County Council has their road map for building on this work into the years ahead.
(Pic: Cllr. Miriam Murphy & Michael Nicolson, Director of Services, Wicklow County Council)
It was an emotional time in the Chamber as Cllr. Miriam Murphy joined online to hear this item and propose its adoption. Cllr. Murphy had been at the forefront on advocating for increased accessibility, she joined the chamber following the loss of her father Patrick Murphy that day. The members expressed their condolences and acknowledged Cllr. Murphy’s work in bringing the strategy to conclusion.
N11 Bus Corridor works and proposed works at Castle Street, Bray
This matter was brought to the chamber for discussion following a request for ‘a Suspension of Standing Orders’. This is the process with which significant items of concern are brought to the table for discussion. Two specific items were discussed in detail (1) the proposed closure of the Herbert Road and the 21 bends, Enniskerry onto and from the N11 and (2) the bus corridor on Castle Street which will remove parking spaces and stop at the Fran O’Toole Bridge (Dargle Bridge) a short distance and members expressed their dissatisfaction at the process and the proposal in both cases. It was agreed to make a joint submission on both items to the relevant bodies from the Wicklow Councillors and individual Councillors were also asked to make their own submissions.
I hope this review provides some updates on this moths meeting. As always please get in touch if you would like additional information.