Redesign of Abercrombie Place in Fermoy

Streets are more than traffic, at their most basic level they are community spaces. Looking at past photos of Fermoy this is immediately evident.  Patrick’s street served as a market, meeting place, thoroughfare and spectacle at the same time.  We need to bring this rich texture of life back into our town to create a vibrant core that attracts shoppers and residents alike.

While not appropriate in every setting street trees can do more than anything else and for far less money in helping to create livable places.  Many cities throughout the world have recognized the benefits of street trees and now consider them the default street-making feature.

London has recently embarked on the laudable task of planting 2 million trees over the next 15 years.  Already 10,000 new street trees have been planted, using recently developed techniques that control root growth, prevent pavement heave and encourage filtration.    Such efforts are due to the increasing evidence of the many benefits that street trees bring.

A recent study on the recuperation rates of patients in hospitals found that those patients with a view of greenery showed a consistently faster rate of recovery from surgery, were in need of less medication and returned home quicker than those with a view of a brick wall.

Streets with trees on them have shown in several studies an increase in property prices from 5 -18%.  This is underpinned by people’s attraction to live, work and invest in green surroundings.  This commitment to greener streets is one of the most economical means we have of regenerating our town and the regional economy.

What we need on our larger streets is larger trees.  Large street trees are the appropriate design element in large urban spaces.  From the clipped Horse Chestnut trees on the Champs Elysee in Paris, to the Lime trees of Unter Der Linden (Under the Limes) in Berlin, or to the magnificent Plane trees in the Georgian streets of Dublin, big streets need big trees.

Abercromby Place Now

Abercrombie Place in Fermoy was designed with this sense of Georgian grandeur.  At one end the view terminates in the town square while at the other end Christchurch is the focal point.  We are now the fortunate custodians of this carefully planned architectural heritage and we need to treat it with the respect that it deserves.

What better way of taking the opportunity the new motorway has given us than by creating a grand boulevard with a pedestrian crossing and developing a sense of anticipation in the approach to our town square.  “Such a design would be of huge benefit to the town.  We now have a dangerous situation where there is no pedestrian crossing between the Square and the top of Oliver Plunket hill.  This is a health and safety issue and needs to be looked at by the council” added Councilor Noel Mc Carthy.

Complimenting this with two lines of trees, one on either side would draw the attention to the centerpiece of the town, its square. How many towns in Ireland can boast of having a grand, wide, tree lined boulevard leading to their town square?

Abercromby Place After

What we need on our streets are trees.  Metal poles and hanging baskets with colour for the summer months and bare soil for the rest of the year are nothing in comparison to big and beautiful street trees.  Trees are not an optional extra.  Our populations demand services like electricity, telephone, and rubbish collection, why not the beautiful service provided by trees?  Trees alone can do more for, and for far less money than probably anything else.

Lets bring trees back to Fermoy and let us try to recreate streets and squares for people.  The motorway has provided us with the infrastructure; now let us bring the beauty.


One thought on “Redesign of Abercrombie Place in Fermoy

  1. Excellent article. Tree planting here would greatly enhance the town and a pedestrian crossing is urgently needed. The fact that there is no crossing between the top of Oliver Plunkett Hill and the Square (a distance of 1/2 mile through a residential area) is a disgrace. Seeing the kids and teachers from St Josephs and Adair schools trying to negotiate the traffic to get to the swimming pool or library is a pathetic sight. Pa O’Driscoll recently put forward a motion for a crossing at Abercromby Place. This would not entail much work, as there already is a pedestrian island in place. Installing a ramped zebra crossing here wouldn’t cost a lot – but I bet we’ll be told that there is no funding available.
    Conor O’Mahony
    3 St James Place

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