Wednesday 5 September 2007

Rezoning battle over €1.5bn new town plans

A FURIOUS row has broken out in south Tipperary over plans to develop a €1.5bn town on the outskirts of Clonmel.

Former government minister Noel Davern and a sitting local councillor are among those who may sell their land to develop Powerstown, which will provide 3,500 homes and jobs in software development, the biotechnology sector and financial services over a 20 years.

But councillors have been warned that unless they agree to rezone large tracts of land to allow the project go ahead, 300 jobs in the short-term will be lost.

New Vision Developments is urging members of South Tipperary County Council to adopt its proposal to develop 400 acres of land at Powerstown between 2008 and 2028, describing its project as the most "imaginative and progressive" ever to be conceived for Clonmel. The 300 jobs are the first of 3,500 to be located on the site.

The 'Powerstown Quarter' project will transform the 400 acres on the town's outskirts into a fully integrated village comprising 150 new homes per year over the project lifetime, 1m square feet of office space and Research and Development facilities, 20,000 square feet of space for small businesses, 21 retail units, a 100-bedroom hotel, two schools, two community centres and creches.

But the plans face opposition from South Tipperary county manager Ned O'Connor, who has recommended that the 400-acre site be left as a buffer zone with agricultural uses.

Councillors will decide on September 17 next if the controversial plans should proceed.

Mr O'Connor wants most development around Clonmel to take place in the council-owned 280-acre Ballingarrane estate which is earmarked for a business park and research and development facility.

Yesterday, Chief Executive of New Vision Developments, Don Davern, a son of Noel Davern, said the plans for Powerstown were a "long-term vision" for south Tipperary which needed high-quality jobs to attract young people to the area.

He confirmed that his family farm would be redeveloped if the plans were granted planning permission, and warned that 300 jobs would be lost unless councillors voted to rezone the land.

Irish Independent

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