Planning

Nenagh councillors and officials clash over role of county architect

Tipperary Star reporter

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Nenagh councillors and officials clash over role of county architect

Cllr Michael O'Meara

Nenagh councillors and management have clashed over the role of the newly-appointed county architect.

The architect was appointed almost six months ago, and Cllr Michael O'Meara has claimed that he has been sitting in Clonmel since his appointment.

He has demanded that the architect appear before Nenagh Municipal District Council to outline any plans he might have for urban regeneration.

However, in a staunch defence of the archtiect's role, both district manager Marcus O'Connor and director of planning Karl Cashen said councillors could not dictate what his role might be.

“We want back lands developed in our towns,” declared Cllr O'Meara. “That is not happening. We need creatiev thinking and he should be up here.”

His call to have the architect come before the MDC was seconded by Cllr Mattie Ryan.

When Mr O'Connor replied that the architect was dealing with progressing social housing and his role was not to develop towns, Cllr O'Meara said: “We need to be developing towns.”

'passionate' about issue

The Independent councillor described himself as being “passionate” about the issue.

“Towns will die if we don't open them up. They were built for the horse and cart. We should work with the architect and get him to work with planning or towns will be dead in five years' time,” said Cllr O'Meara.

He was supported by MDC Cathaoirleach Cllr Phyll Bugler who said: “Developing derelict sites should be part of his role. It is a shame to see lights out overhead premises in towns.”

During a heated exchange, Mr Cashen told Cllr O'Meara: “He was hired to look after social housing. It is not the MDC's function to redirct staff from a specific function he was hired for. What you want is a different issue.”

But Cllr O'Meara was still adament that was not the case.

“I disagree. Let him come up to Nenagh,” he said.