Arklow to Shillelagh Greenway – Project Update January 2023

The project already has the support of the majority of landowners and local communities along the
line. The project will bring a major new recreation and amenity attraction to the area that will
provide local amenity, generate additional tourism and provide new business development
opportunities.

Over the last number of years, extensive landowner and stakeholder consultation took place, route
options, feasibility and design development were undertaken and environmental surveys carried
out. In late 2021, the Council confirmed its decision to commence the process of seeking Statutory
Approval.

Notwithstanding having secured voluntary land use for much of the lands along the
project route, the Council had no option but to include acquisition of land by means of Compulsory
Purchase Order (CPO).

Two significant developments then occurred at a National level which has impacted on the
anticipated timeline and process for delivering the project:

  1. In late December 2021, the ‘Code of Best Practice: National and Regional Greenways’
    and the associated ‘Greenway Sustainability Payments’ documents were published.
    These strongly promote the use of Voluntary Land Acquisition Agreements (VLAAs) to
    secure lands necessary for Greenway developments. The CPO mechanism is only to
    be used if VLAAs are not in place for all of the lands required at the time that
    planning is sought for the project.
    This approach is very similar to that which Wicklow County Council was previously
    following however the new documents have require stepping back to ensure full
    compliance with the procedures set out in the ‘Code of Best Practice’. Wicklow
    County Council is happy to follow this ‘Code of Best Practice’.

2. In 2022, responsibility for overseeing the development of greenways was transferred
from the National Transport Authority (NTA) to Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII).
In June 2022, TII published the ‘Project Manager’s Manual for Greenway Projects’
which was followed by the ‘Rural Cycleway Design (Offline & Greenway)’ in August
2022.

While working with these new publications and guidelines it has extended the project process
somewhat, however they will also facilitate a collaborative approach to the development of the
Greenway and provide much greater certainty for the ultimate implementation and delivery of the
project.

Where we Are Now & Next Steps

Aligning with the TII ‘Project Manager’s Manual for Greenway Projects’.

Utilising as much as possible of the work undertaken to date, the Arklow to Shillelagh Greenway
project is currently at the mid-way point, or Phase 2: Options Selection, in the Planning and Design
stage as set out in the TII ‘Project Manager’s Manual for Greenway Projects’.

In line with the ‘Code of Best Practice: National and Regional Greenways’, an Independent
Agronomist has been appointed by Wicklow County Council and is freely available to all potentially affected landowner to provide impartial opinion on the proposed scheme. Contact details of the
Independent Agronomist were circulated to all such landowners in December 2022.

Consultation is ongoing with all potentially affected landowners and key stakeholders in relation to
Options Selection to agree a final route and also to ensure the ultimate delivery of a high-quality
Greenway facility. Wicklow County Council is currently preparing and finalising the Options Selection
Report that will identify the preferred route of the Greenway.

Project Development Phases: TII Project Manager’s Manual for Greenway Projects
Planning & Development

Phase 0 Scope and Pre-Appraisal
Phase 1 Concept and Feasibility
Phase 2 Options Selection
Phase 3 Design and Environmental Evaluation
Phase 4 Statutory Processes


Construction/Implementation

Phase 5 Enabling and Procurement
Phase 6 Construction and Implementation
Phase 7 Close out and Review

Next Steps

A project website will be set up in Q1 2023 to provide project information and updates.
We will continue to engage with all potentially affected landowners with a view to entering into
Voluntary Land Acquisition Agreements (VLAAs) to facilitate the Greenway.
Once the Options Selection process is sufficiently progressed and the initial assessment of the
options has been completed, a public consultation will be held on the emerging preferred route. It is
anticipated that public consultation will take place in Q2 of 2023 and will allow all stakeholders to
provide feedback before the preferred route is decided.


Phase 3: Design and Environmental Evaluation will follow public consultation and meeting all TII
requirements. This will include the detailed design of the preferred route and the preparation of
environmental reports that may be required.


Phase 4: Statutory Processes will follow with Wicklow County Council applying to An Bord Pleanála
for Statutory Approval (Planning). Note that the proximity of the Arklow to Shillelagh Greenway to
the Derry River (part of the Slaney River Valley Special Area of Conservation) means that a Natura
Impact Statement (NIS) must be prepared. Under the Planning and Development Act, the application
must therefore be submitted directly to An Bord Pleanála rather than to Wicklow County Council.


If VLAAs are not in place for all of the required lands at the time of submitting the application, the
Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) approval process will also commence at this time. Note that the
option for VLAA will remain available to landowners up until the CPO (if required) is confirmed. In
such circumstances, the CPO must set out all the lands required for the project including those for
which a VLAA has been reached. The ‘Notice to Treat’ and ‘Notice to Enter’ will only be served on
landowners who have not entered into a VLAA.

If you have any queries email wicklowgreenway@wicklowcoco.ie

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