A PETROL station on a major thoroughfare into Limerick city which has been closed for the last decade looks set to open once again.
An Bord Pleanala is set to make a decision shortly on a plan which will see the former Southville Service Station re-open for business.
The site has been taken over by Inver Energy, the company which owns and operates the oil terminal in Foynes.
The same company is also seeking to build on another former garage site next to the Hurlers Bar in Castletroy.
Its retail manager Ben Maguire says they are hoping to have both sites open by October, and between them, there will be between 25 and 32 new retail jobs.
During the construction phase, another 50 workers are expected to be employed, he added.
Preparatory works are already under way on the Ballinacurra Road site, with An Bord Pleanala set to make a decision on the plan by Friday.
Limerick marks Inver Energy’s first foray into the retail market, having taken over stations in Rathkeale, Ballyneety and Mulgrave Street.
“We own and operate the oil terminal in Foynes. We bring in fuel from there, and supply direct to the market. Limerick only 30 minutes out the road. As it is so close, so makes it a lot of sense (to open here),” Mr Maguire told the Limerick Leader.
Local Fine Gael councillor Maria Byrne welcomed news of the station’s prospective re-opening.
“It is very positive, in that it has been such an eyesore for a long time. A number of businesses have come and gone from the site. There was always a bit of activity there. But people missed the fact there wasn’t a petrol station nearby, and I think it is very positive and welcome it,” she said.
The former Texaco garage which once operated on the site closed around 10 years ago, and Cllr Byrne said the facility had been missed in the interim period.
“It is the main thoroughfare out of the city. It is a busy access route, and I feel it is a very appropriate location fro a new petrol station. The sooner something happens with the site, the better,” she added.
Since Texaco’s closure, the area had been used sporadically as a car wash.
In its plans, Inver Energy is seeking to change the use of the site from a car rental office and car wash facility to a service station incorporating a convenience store of 100 square metres with a hot food deli area.
The forecourt will comprise a canopy and four fuel dispensing locations, plus one electric car charging point. The plans have been welcomed “in principle” by the local Southville/Gurteen residents association.
But they expressed concerns over safety levels around the placing of fuel tanks, noise levels, security issues and the possibility of increased pollution.