Wednesday 17 September 2008

Renewal of estates to cost State €1.8bn

LIMERICK’S huge regeneration plan for run-down council estates in the city will present the Government with another financial challenge as the entire project will cost the exchequer as much as €1.8 billion, it has emerged.

Initial costings indicated that the regeneration programme would carry a price tag in the region of €1bn.

Following the presentation of architects’ master plans on Monday the cost has been revised upwards.

And to complete the biggest urban regeneration of any Irish city, another €1.8bn will be needed in private sector investment, it has emerged.

Government ministers have insisted that they are fully behind the plans drawn up by former Dublin city manager John Fitzgerald.

The regenerating programme will involve the total demolition and redevelopment of houses in Moyross, Southill, Ballinacurra Weston and St Mary’s Park.

The cost is based on the master plans presented to two regeneration boards on Monday.

The Southside and Northside Regeneration Boards gave their approval of the plans presented to them and they will now be sent to various government departments who will have to provide the funding.

Much of the funding will not be required for at least another year, giving ministers some breathing space.

Limerick City Council will also be given copies of the master plan to kick-start the planning process.

The council will debate the master plans on October 27.

Brendan Kenny, chief executive of the regeneration boards has stated that he is confident funding for the total redevelopment of the four huge estates will be given as the projects proceed.

Up to 3,000 houses in all will be demolished.

To date more than 100 houses which have been vandalised and abandoned by their occupants have been knocked.

The southside regeneration agency has already bought out properties including a local pub located near Southill.

The property was purchased for its strategic location and the licence will be retained.

An indoor sports facility has also been put in place at a vacated industrial unit.

There will now be major focus on the government response to the master plans and the kind of commitments which they will elicit given the new economic circumstances.

Irish Examiner

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