REGENERON’S €220 million plans for the former Dell plant are to proceed, after the heritage body An Taisce withdrew its appeal regarding the site from An Bord Pleanala this week.
There was anger that An Taisce’s appeal over traffic and parking concerns could jeopardise the 300 biopharmaceutical jobs to be created by the US company and delay the project.
However, both parties have now “identified solutions regarding sustainable workplace travel” following a one-hour meeting in Dublin last week.
In a statement released this week, a spokesperson for Regeneron said that barring any further objections, it will soon begin the major portion of the company’s proposed €220m investment in Raheen Business Park. The spokesperson said An Taisce is working with the company on a strategy to boost sustainable transport and minimise car dependency among staff when the facility comes fully on-stream in 2016.
Regeneron’s Dan Van Plew, senior vice president, and James Nix, An Taisce’s director of policy & operations, discussed their appeal at a meeting last week.
Mr Van Plew said that he is “delighted with the available talent in Limerick, the progress made thus far on the preliminary portion of the proposed development, and the great national and regional response we have had to our investment plan for the Limerick facility.”
“An Taisce plays an important role encouraging folks to think about their long-term impact on the environment, and we are very happy to have engaged with An Taisce on issues relating to mobility planning and on other aspects of the proposed development. Regeneron and An Taisce have much in common in terms of encouraging sustainable best practice,” he said.
Mr Nix said they are happy that their concerns on reducing car dependency, where possible in line with national policy, have been addressed.
An Taisce had no objection to the overall project but had appealed one of 21 planning conditions imposed by the county council. They had recommended that An Bord Pleanala impose a new traffic plan that would reduce the number of car parking spaces to 300 during the construction phase and 150 for employees once the plant opens.
Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has said that Regeneron’s overall plan could see as many as 800 people employed in Limerick within a few years. The construction phase of the project would create 600 temporary jobs, with 300 full-time positions to be created once the facility is complete.