Tuesday 12 May 2009

Agreement reached on mid-west infrastructure masterplan

AGREEMENT has been reached on the drafting of a masterplan for the long-term infrastructure development of North Tipperary, Limerick city and Co Limerick.

Limerick City Council, acting on behalf of the mid-west’s regional and local authorities, has reached agreement with civil engineering consultants, Mott MacDonald Pettit, to prepare the framework document for guiding future residential, commercial and industrial development in the mid-west region.

Called the Mid-West Area Strategic Plan (MWASP), it will have a significant bearing on the development of the region’s transportation infrastructure over the next 30 years. Supported by the Department of Transport and the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Limerick City Council will act as lead authority for the project on behalf of the Mid-West Regional Authority, Clare County Council, Limerick County Council and North Tipperary County Council.

Limerick City manager Tom Mackey said: "It is important to develop a planning, land use and transportation strategy for the region to help it compete nationally and internationally. The strategy output will integrate transport and land use planning in the mid-west while embracing the sustainable philosophy, and planning for the region’s current and future need."

Regional authority director Liam Conneally said: "The output of the strategy is not intended to be an ‘end-state’, but rather the first substantial step in a 30-year strategy that will shape the future of the mid-west.

"During the recent economic boom much development has been developer-led whereby strategic locations have been land banked for potential future development. This study, however, is plan-led whereby the regional and local authorities identify locations deemed suitable for sustainable development. Furthermore, the strategy will feed into mid-west regional planning guidelines and will particularly inform the Clare, Limerick and North Tipperary county development plans and the Limerick City Plan, which are presently under review."

Mr Conneally explained the strategy would provide the mid-west authorities with evidence-based cases to justify undertaking large-scale planning and transportation projects.

He said: "The study will include a traffic model examining the impact of all new developments on the road and rail transportation network. The regional and local authorities will be able to use the model to determine the potential impacts of any large scale commercial, retail or employment creation proposals on the existing transportation network in the areas concerned and provide vital information on infrastructure upgrades necessary to accommodate such projects.

"Ultimately, the model will contribute to the sustainable economic development of the mid-west, as well as maximise the proper use of local, regional and national road, rail and other transport networks." Tom O’Connor, managing director of Mott MacDonald Pettit, said the development of a strategic plan for the region would ensure the balanced growth of the region.

Irish Examiner


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