A MAJOR new plan for Limerick’s docklands is “overly restrictive” on city development, a city councillor has said.
Speaking at this week’s City Council meeting, Cllr Diarmuid Scully said plans to develop lands around the Shannon Estuary appear to benefit the Clare side.
In a presentation last week, members of the city’s planning committee were told that the Docks will remain as a working port, with the site owners, the Shannon Foynes Port Company intending to expand dock-related activity at an “under-utilised asset” in the city.
But Cllr Scully has expressed his concern at the plans, which went on public display last week.
“My concern is this plan is overly restrictive on Limerick City in terms of development. Development does not appear to be as restrictive on the Clare side,” he told the meeting.
Six years ago, members of City Council opposed plans to close Limerick Port and redevelop the area with high-rises.
Cllr John Gilligan warned against a return to this: “We have reached a stage where we spent millions building a tunnel to keep the docks open,” he pointed out, “We have to be more proactive on this. We cannot allow it to fall by the way-side.”
Labour’s southside councillor Joe Leddin called on city management to be kept up to speed on development plans around the dockside.
“The Docklands represents a huge opportunity for development. There is a significant amount of lands there, and it offers huge potential,” he said.
Northside Labour councillor Tom Shortt expressed his delight at the refurbishment of the Bannatyne Mill building by the Shannon Foynes Port company.
“It is so uplifting to see activity going on, especially by people who are well established in the city,” he said.
He also praised Mary Immaculate College, for its plans to move into the former Mount Convent Building in O’Connell Avenue, and the City VEC, which is replacing the windows of the ‘Red Tech’ building in O’Connell Avenue.
Head of planning and development Gerry Sheeran said the plan gives developers interested in building a clear idea of what will be allowed where.
“The purpose of this plan is to provide development on the biggest estuary in Ireland. The idea is when developers come in, they have a template, so they have a straight run through the planning application,” he said.
Cllr Gilligan said plans should be on display in City Hall’s foyer, as opposed to offices upstairs, “so ordinary people can see them”.