Toppins Field rezoning vote ‘difficult to call’

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

CITY councillors will this Monday decide on controversial plans to rezone the Toppins Field to allow for commercial development, with the vote described as “a difficult one to call”.

CITY councillors will this Monday decide on controversial plans to rezone the Toppins Field to allow for commercial development, with the vote described as “a difficult one to call”.

At present, the land on the southside is zoned as residential, which means only housing can be built there. However, this land is derelict and according to one councillor has become a magnet for anti-social behaviour

Now, bosses at City Hall want to see this rezoned to allow for commercial development, with indications a major supermarket chain could capitalise.

The appeal to a supermarket has been further enhanced with this week’s news that Environment Minister Phil Hogan is recommending that retail floorspace for convenience stores can be higher than 3,500 square metres, far outstripping any current supermarket space in the city.

If these guidelines get the go-ahead, it could make it easier for big retail chains to develop outside the urban centre of Limerick.

But the rezoning proposal has divided councillors, with many pointing out that the priority should be to develop Limerick’s ailing city centre - and also stressing that the planning guidelines only allow for new development in the urban centre.

This is why city manager Tom Mackey is seeking to alter the development plan. But councillors will ultimately have the final say at Monday’s meeting.

*See the Limerick Leader city edition for a full version of this story