Students attending Knockanean National School will continue to be encouraged to travel to school by bus or car due to safety concerns associated with pedestrian and cycle access to the school, planners have acknowledged.
An upgrade of the existing public link between the Tulla Rd and Knockanean has been has been called for by elected representatives of the Ennis Municipal District.
Tabled by Cllr Johnny Flynn (FG), Ennis councillors approved a motion seeking the provision of funding in this year’s roads budget “to carry out works, including a statutory public consultation process, for upgrade of the existing public link” between the Tulla Rd and Knockanean.
Conclusions of a planning report from the Ennis MD on planning permission for Knockanean School acknowledged that the application would accelerate demands for road improvement works on the L4106 and that a compulsory purchase order (CPO) was likely. “It is and would not be an immediate priority for funding within the Ennis MD and the overall Clare County Council list of priorities for roadworks funding. At present there is Transportation funding required to join up the existing pedestrian network in the vicinity of Ennis and to provide necessary improvements to the Regional and Local road networks and it would be very difficult to identify the L4106 as priority over these works,” the report detailed.
Presently in the region of 300 pupils attend Knockanean National School. The report recommended that the primary means of access to the school will continue to be by car or bus. There will be a need to provide improved road surfacing in the immediate frontage of the school to permit appropriate line marking, requiring a special contribution of €40,000 and two advance school VMS Signs requiring a special contribution of €10,000, a waiver or refund would be added if the works were completed by the school contractor.
Roughly sixty percent of the students in the school are living on the Tulla Rd, Cllr Flynn highlighted. He believed there was an opportunity to create walking routes as part of a link. “It is a piece of land that isn’t used and has no ownership issues, it could be considered for investment”. Cllr Paul Murphy (FG) seconded the motion.
“Our focus as Ennis Municipal District councillors is to improve the offering of walking trails. It will be very positive for the Knockanean area,” Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy (FF) commented.
Speaking at the February meeting of the Ennis MD, senior engineer Eamon O’Dea outlined, “This is an old public road that was never taken off the very old schedule in the county, whilst it wasn’t listed for maintenance in general terms, it’s public road status was never formally removed. It is a country lane and will have requirements in what we can do”. Cllr Flynn responded by welcoming its retention of the old public road status, he appealed for “proper public consultation” in what had the ability to be “a great addition”.