Sunday 24 June 2007

City manager recommends Waterford development plan amendments

The Waterford city manager Conn Murray has recommended amendments to the city’s draft development plan.

Murray has recommended the council pass a proposed amendment from Waterford Crystal which acknowledges its Kilbarry site as a tourism destination and supports the development of additional tourism-related facilities there.

Waterford Crystal’s proposed amendment suggested ‘‘the Council acknowledges the role of Waterford Crystal as a tourism destination and will encourage the development of additional tourism-based facilities on the Crystal site at Kilbarry. In addition, with the adjoining ‘opportunity site’, there may be opportunities for tour ism-based facilities, including hotel/conference accommodation, for tourist-related retailing linked to the existing premium brand outlet.”

The county manager has amended that slightly and suggests it should instead state that the council ‘‘will encourage the expansion of the tourism product at the Crystal site so as to create a nationally significant tourism facility. The facility may include tourism-based retailing linked to the existing premium brand outlet. In addition there may be opportunities on the overall opportunity site at this location to provide for additional tourism based facilities.”

Tony O’Reilly’s Waterford Crystal and Sean Mulryan’s Ballymore Properties are set to spend €300 million on the so-called ‘‘opportunity site’’. It is expected to brand itself as an ‘‘international lifestyle development’’.

The project is still being planned by Ballymore and Waterford Crystal.

Meanwhile, Noel Frisby and Tesco have made a submission in relation to the Lisduggan district centre, as king for a statement to be included in the development plan in order to facilitate the redevelopment of the centre.

The city manager has recommended an amendment which states the current design of the centre is obsolete and needs to be redeveloped.

‘‘The council will encourage its redevelopment, in the context of the regeneration of the Larchville/Lisduggan area.

‘‘The redevelopment may include the provision of a superstore, which in addition to its convenience offer, can include provision for low to middle order comparison goods of up to 1,460 square metres net floor area,” the manager’s report states.

However, Frisby’s opposition to plans for retail facilities at Ballybeg and Carrickphierish on the grounds they could inhibit the redevelopment of Larchville left the city manager unmoved. ‘‘It is considered that the planned proposals for both areas are reasonable and should be adopted unaltered,” he wrote.

Last week, the city council unveiled Project 2014,a plan that will see more than €2.4 billion invested in Waterford over the next seven years.

Major elements include a €310 million Government Quarter on a 3.7-acre site at Catherine Street, Bolton Street and The Mall.

Waterford City Council will be headquartered in this area alongside 200 civil servants from the Department of Environment, Heritage & Local Government, and personnel from the Courts Service.

The mixed-use scheme will include three large office buildings and a 600 space multi-storey car park on a council-owned site that is currently under-utilised.

Space freed up by the relocation of the public service to Government Quarter will free up space around Arundel Square, the Suir and The Mall, and a new National Viking Museum is earmarked for the area.

New retail, residential and hotel developments worth more than €300 million are also to be developed in the city centre, according to the council.

A further €625 million is set to be spent by the private sector on regeneration projects on both sides of the River Suir in the city centre.

A new pedestrian bridge will link Waterford’s quays and city centre.

Conn Murray said a multiagency coordination group is being put in place to steer Project 2014 and a forward planning unit is also being established within the council to ‘‘guide appropriate and sustainable development’’.

Sunday Business Post

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