Senator Maria Byrne outside Castletroy Town Centre PICTURE: KIERAN RYAN-BENSON
CASTLETROY Town Centre should develop “in tandem” with Limerick city centre’s regeneration.
That’s according to Fine Gael senator Maria Byrne, who has urged An Bord Pleanala to approve the project, which will see the retail area double in size.
UGP Castletroy Ltd has referred the case for its development to the national appeals body, after council planners locally rejected it.
This was on the basis of the retail planning guidelines, which preclude any out of town shopping facilities.
But Ms Byrne has now become the first senior politician to call for the investment – which could bring 100 jobs – to go ahead.
“Castletroy is home to a lot of high technology companies and there are a large percentage of young people among the population living there, including a large student population,” she said.
Ms Byrne said we need to learn from previous planning “mistakes” which have left some suburbs without major facilities.
“We need to ensure the suburbs of our city have the necessary physical, economic and social infrastructure to support a growing population on a local level as well as creating a thriving city centre,” she said.
Rather than suburban development being a threat, Ms Byrne believes the city centre works can exist alongside.
“As a city centre dweller, I am acutely aware that we need to create a better city centre experience to complement the existing business, cultural and social fabric of our city.
“We need to attract niche businesses and activities to our city centre to create a liveable Limerick to encourage people living in the suburbs of Limerick to travel into the city centre. We have one chance to get this right,” she said.
“In the short term, I can’t see why the Castletroy Town Centre expansion plans can’t proceed in tandem with these projects.”