Design consultants URS Ireland, updating the final plans for the proposed revamp of Liberty Square here in Thurles, were in attendance yesterday at the Thurles -Templemore Municipal District meeting, held in the ‘Old Library’ building, situated on Castle Avenue.
A number of final pre-submission draft drawings were on the table for final discussion at the meeting, latter which will now become part of the overall draft plan of the area, based on previous public consultation processes held earlier over the past year.
These Draft Thurles Design Plans costing some €3,000,000 will now provide for the removal of some parking facilities in the town’s central median, in favour of two off-street car parks recently acquired, providing for some one hundred extra parking spaces. However some enlarged on-street parallel parking is likely to remain with the provision of widened footpaths and the possible introduction of two extra courtesy pedestrian crossings.
From my own humble point of view this is welcome news; after all from a tourism prospective, for the past 14 years, world tourist publications have been less than complimentary with regard to our small local urban community.
Lonely Planet Ireland with Head Offices in America & Australia in a defamatory statement claim; “Thurles (Durlas) is a large market town 22km north of Cashel which was founded by the Butlers in the 13th Century. Little of note has been built there since and the town square is little more than an ugly car park.” This same publication, in 2007, stated; “The centre of Thurles town is the long and spacious Liberty Square. It is rather traffic bound, but has a lively air.”
Ireland : A Rough Guide published by Rough Guides Ltd, 62-70 Shorts Gardens, London and distributed by the Penguin Group state; ” Thurles is of very little interest in itself .” “Having seen the Rock of Cashel, most people head out of Tipperary for the west, and frankly this isn’t a bad idea – the north of the county has little to distract you.” Also they offer this little added piece of libel; “Templemore is even less interesting than Thurles.”
The final plans should be ready to go on display under Part 8 Planning Process later this year and once finally agreed same will then go to tender for construction.
Thurles – Templemore District Director Mr Matt Shortt, in highlighting this project, has stated that the overall aim of this new revamp will be to aid the currently restricted traffic flow, while also greatly improving conditions for shopping pedestrians.
Yes of course there will be many problems as plans are unveiled and as our Local Authority attempt to construct what can be reasonably described as a new exciting public face to Liberty Square. Such, after all, is inevitable when local residents and businesses people are invited to participate in a final decision-making process. We reside in an age where “Personal Greed and Me-ism” flourishes in abundance, so do let’s try to keep our thoughts positive, accepting safe democratic decisions and keeping in mind that it is impossible for everyone to fully agree on all finalised new proposals.
After all and in reality there is no such thing as a problem; if a problem occurs and there is a solution – there is no problem; if a problem occurs and there is no solution – this can be categorised as a ‘fact of life,’ so let’s continue with it until an alternative resolution can be calmly worked out.
One thought is common in the minds of all Thurles people presently; Liberty Square badly needs a face lift, so let’s speed up this positive chance for change, where possible.