Tuesday 9 June 2009

Single objector halts €40m city plan

A sole objector has succeeded in halting a massive €40 million commercial and retail development in Limerick city centre, which would have given work to 600 people.

An Bord Pleanála has overturned a decision of Limerick City Council last November to grant permission to a business consortium - Catherine Street Partnership - to develop a huge area along Catherine Street, Glentworth Street and Mallow Street.

The development proposed to include five floors with 55,000sq ft of commercial space, 5,500sq ft of offices and 5,000 sq ft retail on the ground floor. The plan also included parking for 110 cars.

An Bord Pleanála knocked the plan following an objection by a businessman who owns property in the area.

A spokesman for the promoters said a series of meetings took place between the consortium and the businessman, but they could not reach agreement.

Although An Bord Pleanála’s own inspector approved the development, the board upheld the objection due to concerns for the heritage of the area.

The spokesman for the consortium said - "This is very disappointing news for us and, we believe, for Limerick. This was an important job-generating development project, fully in keeping with the city council’s own ambitions for urban renewal in this part of the city. It would have completely lifted the area around the site which has become a focus for anti-social behaviour of different types, including prostitution and drug taking.

"We were extremely diligent with regard to our heritage responsibilities and, even at this stage, feel that we could satisfy An Bord Pleanála and the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, on any heritage concerns they may have."

Limerick Chamber of Commerce chief executive, Maria Kelly said a development like that proposed would have been a positive addition to the city centre. "Clearly people have a right to object. Any development which can bring life to any part of the city, giving employment, has to be welcomed. I know we have to have a balance with the aesthetic."

Meanwhile, appellant Michael Duffy who owned adjacent buildings which are let as apartments and a crèche/montessori, was concerned about the serious traffic impact during the construction phase, along with the continued negative impact on his properties - including noise disturbance and the excavation of a car park which will make the crèche unusable.


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