The end of the initial consultation phase for the Masterplan for Glendalough and the Wicklow Mountains National Park and Visitor Orientation Recommendations for County Wicklow is now in the concluding stage.
The aim of the Masterplan is to improve the visitor experience in County Wicklow in a manner which respects the needs of local residents, the natural environment and the unique heritage of the area.
Engagement with the consultation process has been positive with over 170 individuals participating in the Zoom sessions to date and a similar number of surveys have been returned.
Issues raised during those sessions include congestion at key sites, security, car parking and visitor services, including signage availability of maps showing all the trails and routes, issues with local access, rewilding, erosion and degradation of the environment.
“We are particularly anxious to receive the views of the local community”, according to Cllr Pat Kennedy, Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council, who added: “As part of the consultation process Wicklow County Council has arranged the distribution of 600 information packs to households in the Laragh/Glendalough area. These packs are also available at McCoys of Laragh. McCoy’s will also accept the completed questionnaires from those who do not wish to engage online.”
A plenary meeting with representatives of local groups in the area has been arranged for 10th March to ensure that the views of local residents and businesses are taken in to account.
“Public Consultation during COVID-19 restrictions is challenging. We can’t hold walk-in meetings, this is the next best thing”, according to Cllr John Snell, Cathaoirleach of Wicklow Municipal District, “Our consultants have taken onboard comments and suggestions of the community and those engaging with the process.“
The consultants have adjusted the format of the Zoom meetings in response to those comments, including numbers of participants. “Also, as a result of comments and submissions received, the team is arranging more detailed follow-up meetings with specific groups and organisations and would welcome further engagement”, said Dawson Stelfox, of Consarc Consultants, the Project Lead.
“We offer a range of ways of engaging with this process including Zoom, information on the Wicklow.ie consultation hub, an online questionnaire and a dedicated email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. For those who want to put pen to paper they can post their submission in the box in McCoys
The final Zoom ‘drop in’ session with the consultant team will run from 4pm to 8pm on Thursday, 11th March. This event can be booked through Eventbrite. If necessary, more sessions and extra dates can be added to meet demand. https://www.eventbrite.com/o/the-paul-hogarth-company-32440056885
“It is important to emphasise that we are at the beginning of a process. The initial round of public consultation will run until March 12th. This will inform the early development of proposals which will then be brought back for further community consultation.” according to Frank Curran, Chief Executive, Wicklow County Council.
The Visitor Experience and Management Masterplan for Glendalough and the Wicklow Mountains National Park has been commissioned by Fáilte Ireland, working with its strategic partners the Office of Public Works (OPW), National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and Coillte along with the National Monuments Service and Wicklow County Council.