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Oral hearing for Connemara Greenway to start in December

Oral hearing for Connemara Greenway in December

Anton McNulty

A THREE-day oral hearing by An Bord Pleanála to discuss the planning issues surrounding the proposed Connemara Greenway will take place in Clifden early next month.
Plans are at an advanced stage to develop a 52km long Greenway for cyclists and walkers which will run along the route of the old Galway - Clifden railway, similar to the Great Western Greenway linking Achill to Westport. The historic Galway to Clifden line closed in 1935.
The plan is to develop the Greenway from Clifden through the Connemara countryside to Oughterard with the total cost estimated at €7.5 million.
The planning application by Galway County Council is currently with An Bord Pleanála and an oral hearing will begin in the Clifden Station House Hotel on December 11 next at 10.30an and is expected to continue until December 13.
The proposed new facility will see the construction of seven new bridges, signage board and mapping and will cost an estimated €150,000 per kilometre.
Failte Ireland are behind the plans as are many local business and community organisations as well as those involved in the tourism sector such as the Killary adventure company in Leenane. Around 15 submissions have been made to the plan with the objections mainly coming from landowners in the Recess/ Maam Cross area, who are worried about imposition on their lands, and in some cases the division of existing farms.
There were also submissions from cycling groups opposed to the plan who feel the route is too close to the busy N59.
The oral hearing was due to take place earlier this month but it was deferred following a request from the Galway County Council planning department because of staffing issues.
The route from Clifden to Oughterard will only be the first phase of the project with plans to eventually extend the Greenway into Galway city. When completed the Connemara Greenway will be the longest off-road walking and cycling trail in Ireland with a multitude of activities, places to stay and warm welcomes on your journey.

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