2.4 Transport and Accessibility
2.4.1i Fethard is recognised as both a market town for local residents and a tourist attraction for visitors. The Council considers that in order to strengthen these functions, it is important that priority is given to pedestrians and cyclists using the centre of the town.
2.4.1ii A Town Study was prepared in 1992 by CAAS, which recommended a series of improvements to the town including upgrading the town square. Improvements to the square and riverside are currently being designed which will improve pedestrian safety, reduce confusion for motor traffic, and improve the overall standard of tourist product and sense of place.
2.4.1iii Car ownership is increasing, and the hinterland of Fethard is largely dependent of the car for access to the town and to the larger shopping town of Clonmel. The Council will, therefore, continue to improve both on and off-street car parking facilities.
Policy TRANS.1: Pedestrian Rights
It is the Council’s policy to improve facilities for pedestrians and access facilities for people with special mobility needs in line with the aims of the European Charter of Pedestrian Rights.
2.4.2i The Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Consumer Protection of the European Parliament has produced a report pointing out that pedestrian areas are for the most part regarded as ‘left-over’ areas. The European Charter of Pedestrian Rights adopted in 1988 by the European Parliament states that:
a. The pedestrian has the right to live in a healthy environment and freely to enjoy the amenities offered by public areas under conditions that adequately safeguard both physical and psychological well-being.
b. The pedestrian has the right to live in urban and village centres tailored to the needs of human beings and not to the needs of the car and to have amenities within walking or cycling distance.
c. Children, the elderly and the disabled have the right to expect towns to be places of easy social contact and not places that aggravate their inherent weakness.
d. The disabled have the right to specify measures to maximise mobility, such as the elimination of architectural obstacles and the adequate equipping of public transport.
2.4.2ii The Charter includes recommendations on noise emissions, the creation of ‘green lungs’, control of speed limits through traffic calming, and an effective system of signs for the deaf and the blind. The Charter also recommends the introduction of the system of risk liability so that the person creating the risk bears the financial consequences thereof (as has been the case in France, for example, since 1985).
2.4.2iii The Council will, therefore, seek to improve access to buildings and public spaces through the statutory development control process. This will include ensuring that all non-domestic developments, including where possible, change of use, alterations, and extensions to existing buildings are accessible to people with special mobility needs, incorporating level access into the building.
2.4.2iv The Council will, as funds become available, continue making improvements to the town centre, particularly for; people with special mobility needs, including some elderly people, people with physical disabilities and/or sensory impairment, and those with young children or carrying heavy loads.
Policy TRANS.2: Road Improvements and Conservation.
It is the policy of the Council that future road improvements, traffic calming and parking provision will respect and enhance the urban form and conservation of the town, particularly within the Conservation Area.
It is an objective of the Council:
R1. Continue to extend and up-grade the riverside walk to include a new pedestrian bridge over the Clashawley River.
R2. Implement Phase II of the Town Action Plan in the Square - to provide:
- environmental improvements;
- enhanced pedestrian facilities;
- traffic management;
- undergrounding of services; and
- rationalisation of the on-street parking .
R3. create an enhanced network of pedestrian routes linking amenity areas and tourist attractions, including;
R3a. re-opening of Belbow Lane to link Burke Street with the river bank and the Abbey Bridge;
R3b. improve access along the eastern and northern sides of the town wall;
R3c. protect and enhance the amenity value and sign posting along Jesuits walk;
R3d. protect the right of way from Abymill to the Valley; and
R3e. support the improvement of the Old Monroe Walk to Rockloe via Breen’s Bridge - ending at the Green.
R4. Provide traffic calming at the Killenaule Road entrance to the town.
R5. Provide a pedestrian/cycle path from Strylea Boreen to Rocklow Road as part of future residential development.
2.4.3i Traffic calming and gateway features will help to reduce speeds by defining the transition between rural and urban areas to reinforce the need for change in driver behaviour.