The Co. Council is in the process of formally “taking in charge” the maintenance of the historic 20km towpath along the River Suir between Carrick-on-Suir and Clonmel that will open the door for more funding to develop it as a riverside walking route.
Landowners with property along the towpath have received a letter from the Council explaining the process to them and some of the reasons why the Council wants to take the route in charge.
The towpath was laid along the north bank of the River Suir in the 1750s for horses toweing boats filled with goods between Carrick-on-Suir and Clonmel.
A map outlining the proposal is on display at the County Hall, Clonmel and any person may inspect this map up to 5pm this Thursday, February 7.
The Council has invited members of the public to submit written objections or observations in relation to its plan to take the towpath in charge to to County Hall, Clonmel on or before 4pm on Friday, February 22.
The Council stresses it is not looking to purchase or own the land of the towpath, or take any fishing rights that may exist along the towpath.
It is just looking to cement the existing Right of Way the local authority believes is in place.
Advertisements have appeared in the local press and notices have been erected at various access points informing walkers of the plans.
South Tipperary County Council has for many years carried out general maintenance works to the towpath including hedge trimming, grass cutting and path cleaning.
Through the taking in charge process, the Council is seeking to formalise and confirm its commitment to maintenance of the towpath into the future. It points out that funding would be more readily available for maintenance works and the continued use of the towpath as an important public
If the Council takes the towpath in charge, it plans to upgrade and maintain its surface for pedestrian use and upgrade and reinstate existing boundary hedges and fences along the route.
The Council also plans to upgrade and maintain existing culverts, drainage pipes and bridges and reinforce the existing riverbank where erosion has taken place along the Towpath.
Where public roads are in charge of the local authority, landowners are protected against public liability claims arising from the use of the roadway by the public.
If the towpath is taken in charge it will be included in the Council’s Schedule of Roads in charge.
This means any landowner whose lands adjoins the towpath or who may own a section of the towpath
would no longer have responsibility for public liability claims arising from the use of the towpath by
unless the landowner in some way interferes with the towpath.
Carrick-on-Suir county councillor Bobby Fitzgerald has welcomed the Council’s move to take in charge the towpath, which he points out hasn’t been maintained to its full potential to date
“The river is one of South Tipperary’s biggest assets for South Tipperary and this initiative will compliment and
fishing, walking and jogging more enjoyable along this route,” he said.
The Labour councillor welcomed the assurances the Council has given landowners with property along the towpath and believed it will give them peace of mind.