AN ENVIRONMENTAL group has lodged an extensive objection against plans for a new RNLI lifeboat station at Castletownbere, Co Cork. The station is proposed on recently reclaimed land beside the Bere Island ferry jetty.
The Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) submission to the planning authority emphasises that it has no objection to the project itself but says the location ignores “the most congested traffic pattern on the Bearhaven peninsula”.
The submission refers to the “ill-ordered and unmonitored parking, turning, and transit area which extends from the SuperValu corner across the parking area to the quay edge”.
FIE claims that “uncontrolled traffic jams are frequent and prolonged as articulated lorries servicing the fishing industry on the contiguous Mainland Quay vie with traffic, pedestrians shopping trolleys, wheelchairs accessing disable parking, local mini-bus services and those waiting for, or at, the telephone boxes.”
The group submission says it is inexplicable that a development relating to emergency services could “even be considered at this location”, citing both the county development plan and the Bantry Area Local Plan, attaching an aerial view of the traffic pattern.
The group draws attention to the Government’s longstanding primary goal of relocating all port-based activities on the adjacent Dinish Island, an infill island developed by the State for the marine sector with excellent access for emergency vehicles, including helicopters, close proximity to the hospital and no traffic congestion.
The establishment of a purpose- built facility remains a priority for the lifeboat crew at Castletownbere as they have been operating out of temporary accommodation for over a decade. It is understood the crew only became aware of the objection in recent days.
The RNLI applied to Cork County Council last month for planning permission for a new standalone lifeboat station. A decision is expected on the project by the end of this month.