Thursday 15 November 2007

Concern over plan to uproot landmark

CONCERNS were raised last night about plans to move one of Cork’s best known landmarks from its century-old home.

The historic “toll house”, located in the centre of St Luke’s Cross on the city’s northside, is to be relocated onto a proposed plaza which will be built nearby as part of a major revamp of the entire St Luke’s area.

The structure was built as one of the key exhibits for The Great Exhibition in 1902 and was moved to St Luke’s shortly afterwards.

The proposal to move it is among several contained in the long-awaited draft version of the Local Area Plan for the area, which goes on public display at City Hall this week.

But local councillor Tim Brosnan (FF), who was born and raised in St Luke’s, said he is concerned.

“It has survived over time because it’s protected in the middle of the road. If it’s moved to a pedestrian area, it may be subjected to vandalism,” he said.

He also said he is concerned that the area plan contains no reference to the horse trough, located just to the west of the toll house.

“The corporation tore up a lot of city’s horse troughs nearly 30 years ago but they were ordered to put them back,” he said.

There is one on Parnell Place, one on the Lower Glanmire Road, and at least three on the southside.

Mr Brosnan said the St Luke’s trough should beretained.

The area plan includes a range of different proposals to upgrade the historic area, including:

* the significant reorganisation of the traffic lanes approaching the hectic St Luke’s Cross junction.

* the reorganisation of parking areas around the local businesses.

* the placement of electrical cables underground.

* the re-pavement of footpaths and the creation of large pedestrian friendly plazas outside the shops.

* and the provision of a range of new lighting and street furniture.

Local Cllr Mairín Quill (PD), who has pursued the development of this plan for almost a decade, welcomed its publication.

She urged the public, and particularly business owners in the area, to get involved in the process and to submit their own comments and proposals on the plan before it comes back before councillors for ratification.

“St Luke’s is the last dynamic urban village left in the city. It’s an area of immense historical and architectural importance,” she said.

“It’s important we keep it as a viable economic and social centre, without damaging its unique historical character.”

The public will have until December 14 to comment on the plan.

A final plan will then be published and will be brought back before councillors for ratification.

Irish Examiner

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