Kerry County Council has published a summary of the findings of almost 800 submissions which were received from members of the public in relation to the future use of the former Denny Bacon Factory in Tralee town centre. Over a period of six weeks, the Council engaged in a non-statutory and informal public consultation process to establish the views of people in relation to what should become of the 2.3 acre site at the Island of Geese which was gifted to the people of Tralee by Kerry Group in 2014.
Almost one third of a total of 766 respondents suggested a mixed use for the site and when that broad range of proposals was categorised along with all the other proposals specifying one use, the following is the breakdown of preferences for the use of the site:
· Arts/Culture 20.80%
· Social/Community 20.66%
· Public Amenity Space 18.28%
· Sports/Recreation 15.54%
· Retail 10.86%
· Tourism 9.37%
· Residential 2.76%
· Office Space 1.74%
In the further comments section of survey responses received, 21% of all respondents said they would like to see the area or part of it used as a farmers’ market/food market similar to the English Market in Cork or the Milk Market in Limerick while almost 7% of respondents proposed a skate park for the site.
Of a full total of 766 submissions, 605 responses were received through the ‘Share My Idea’ forms online at www.theislandtralee.ie and in hard copy; there were 69 written submissions; and 92 submissions made at workshops which were held in Tralee on 21 September. All of the submissions have been collated and categorised by the Planning Section of Kerry County Council.
Mayor of Tralee, Cllr Terry O’Brien said the level of engagement in the consultation process was unprecedented and provides a useful consultation template for the future:
“A project like this would normally just proceed through planning and statutory processes without any widespread consultation. But Kerry County Council was always conscious of the fact that this site was gifted to the people of Tralee and we wanted them to have their say.
“While all the proposals that have emerged through the ‘Share My Idea’ process are unlikely to be fully accommodated within the Island of Geese site, they remain valid and will be considered in the context of the wider development of the Tralee Town Centre West development and the wider town itself.
“The next step will be the appointment of experts to draw up a master-plan for the area and I hope that the content of these submissions will be closely considered in laying out what will become of this wonderful and iconic location,” said Cllr O’Brien.