‘Futile’ spending on plaza for County Limerick village without masterplan

Maria Flannery

Reporter:

Maria Flannery

The current heritage centre

The current heritage centre

PLANS for an open plaza to the front of Adare Heritage Centre have prompted councillors to call for a wider masterplan for the village which would bring together a number of pressing issues and projects.

The plaza will cost an estimated €100,000 and a Part 8 development plan was brought before the Adare Rathkeale councillors at the local area meeting this week.

FG Cllr Stephen Keary said that he agreed that the area should be opened up, but the council “should be careful that we don’t spend money now that will be trampled on in 12 months”.

Echoing previous calls in the same chamber, Cllr Keary called for a masterplan to be created to address a course of action for the “whole Adare package”. This would ensure that money is not wasted on projects that will be replaced or changed in a few years during bigger works.

“The major issue that everyone can see in Adare is parking. It would be foolish to spend too much money there without creating more parking,” said Cllr Keary.

Cllr Richard O’Donoghue agreed that “€100,000 is a lot of money. I welcome the facelift for the front of the heritage centre but I would like to see a masterplan done as well,” he said.

FF Cllr Kevin Sheahan added that he too agreed with a masterplan to address all of the issues associated with the village.

“The parking issue is a crisis in Adare,” he said.

Cllr Sheahan outlined that there are lands which are designated a flood zone and which cannot be built on for that reason.

“The local authority will have to explain to these land owners that without additional parking, it would be futile to invest further in Adare. We want to spend money there but it needs a plan that includes the parking issue. We will only spend money wisely,” he said.

Cllr Keary added: “There is millions being lost in the village because there are no visible spaces to stop and park.”

Cllr Emmett O’Brien asked: “How does this tie in with future development? Is it wise to do this work without knowledge of our future plans in Adare?”

A council executive official admitted that the plaza is a standalone project, and said car parking is being looked at separately. All councillors agreed with the immediate plans for the front of the heritage centre. It is being funded through a grant from the Town and Village Renewal Scheme.

The design will get rid of much of the front wall and connect with the main footpath outside. The project would also include landscaping, benches, and an al fresco dining area.

In the long term, council planners hope that the plaza can stretch across the road to connect the heritage centre with the village’s park - although this cannot be achieved until after the Adare bypass is built.