Should post office field be a sanctuary? New plans in the paper have local residents up in arms? What do people think?
According to the Clare Champion:
by TJ Flynn
A NEW campaign to protect the Ennis Post Office Field has started up in the wake of fears that the town council and the local civic trust have earmarked the controversial site for potential development.
Aontas na PÃ¡irce, a cross-community non-political organisation has been reactivated to fight the corner of the field that represents the last piece of green space in the heart of Ennis.
This follows on from a notice placed in The Clare Champion â€œinviting submissions from the public as to how the Post Office field should be used/enhanced/developedâ€.
The notice was placed by Ennis Town Council and stated that the field â€œhas been identified as a major natural asset for the town centre of Ennisâ€.
It also stated that the town council in conjunction with Ennis Civic Trust, â€œwishes to ensure that the town of Ennis derives maximum benefit from this resourceâ€.
In 1998 Ennis Town Council purchased two and a half acres of the Post Office field for the town. This purchase was made on the back of a campaign mounted by Aontas na PÃ¡irce to safeguard the field as a public amenity in Ennis.
This campaign saw the collection of 7,000 signatures on a petition which called on the council to rezone the entire field as an amenity area in the town plan.
Now, Aontas na PÃ¡irce is calling for the area to be made a wildlife sanctuary to be enjoyed by viewing rather than opening up the field for access. The group has outlined a number of ways in which this can be achieved.
â€œA comprehensive mature tree planting is required to enhance the field. Trees should be planted in close enough groups so that wild bird and other animal habitat is created. Current healthy trees should be retained,â€ spokesperson for Aontas na PÃ¡irce Frank Counihan said.
â€œA suitable boardwalk on the Parnell Street side would add to the enjoyment of the amenity. Safety considerations need to be given highest priority to include a means of closure. Remedial work to reintegrate the riverbank on the field side is required to stabilise it against erosion by the Fergus and the fowl. Afterwards, the sowing of vegetation that binds and builds the bank while providing habitat should be done
â€œThe seats on the Parnell Street car park river wall should be turned around to face the river and field. In the interests of safeguarding flora and fauna and to discourage misuse of the amenity, the area should be floodlit after dark. A natural pond - turlough area - with a raised natural island is neded and replacement of some of the topsoil is required.
The set of the otters, which are a protected species, should be given due protection and care. Attention should be drawn to the presence of lamprey, another protected species in the river. With the exception of access to fishermen, the area should be the sanctuary of wildlife, except for necessary maintenance work.
The numbers of geese, ducks and pigeons need management. In keeping with the needs of wildlife sanctuary the dredging of the riverbed should not be carried out,â€ the spokesperson concluded.
The town council press release:
Council Support for New Library in Ennis
Date Issued: 13th November 2006
At the November Monthly Meeting of Ennis Town Council, the Council agreed to support the development of a new library for Ennis at Bank Place.
In recent years the Town Council, jointly with Clare County Council, has addressed the need for sports and recreational facilities to meet the needs of the expanding population of the town. Furthermore, the cultural needs have also been addressed through the provision of high profile projects. These civic facilities are central to the development and enhancement of Ennis as a regional growth centre.
Following on from these developments, the provision of a new library for the town is now being proposed. Preliminary consultation has taken place with An Comhairle Leabharlanna and the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government and initial responses have been positive.
Ennis Town Council has land at Bank Place that could be suitable for a new library subject to planning requirements being met. The design of a modern building at this location would have to respect the unique characteristics of this site, while at the same time meet the needs of the local community.
Tom Coughlan, Director of Service stated â€œThe proposed library development would be constructed and limited to an area of 0.3 acres at the edge of the Post Office Field fronting Bank Place. The area of the Post Office Field is approximately 4 acres and the zoning of the remaining 3.7 acres would remain unchanged as open spaceâ€.
He continued â€œThe proposed development would involve the provision of a library, exhibition space, study space and research area and a viewing platform or decking area overlooking the riverâ€.
The Mayor of Ennis, Cllr. Joe Reidy, in welcoming the proposal stated â€œA new modern library will be an important further addition to the civic facilities in the townâ€.
The proposed library development will go before Clare County Council for consideration and approval of a funding application. If the project is approved by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, the project will proceed to design and planning stage.
What are peoples opinions on this? Is the field a valuable amenity or valuable wasted space? Should it be developed?
If it is -I know the town council will surely just hand the job over to one of the many substandard architecture practices in the town. A plan like this which will radically alter the town needs a serious investigation and imo warrants a major competition which will bring forth architectural proposals worthy of the site and stature of the project.
I'd be reluctant to let this happen purely from the point of view that I dont trust the council to comission a great building here.