New town could ‘weaken’ ties between University of Limerick and city: Candidate

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

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nick@limerickleader.ie

Plans are in place for a new ‘strategic development zone’ on the Clare side of the University of Limerick campus.

Plans are in place for a new ‘strategic development zone’ on the Clare side of the University of Limerick campus

GREEN Party local election candidate Brian Leddin believes building a new town on the edge of the University of Limerick would “weaken” the ties between the college and the city.

A new university town on the Clare side of the campus is at the heart of the controversial new Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy – but Mr Leddin feels for the time being, the idea should be shelved.

“We all want to see a strong UL but the proposal of creating a new university town on the outskirts of the city in Clare is premature. It could lead to further weakening the ties between the city and the university,” he said, “Cities and universities drive growth together. They drive investment, social inclusion, employment opportunities and diversity. A strong UL needs a strong city and a strong city needs a strong UL.”

“Pushing the campus further outside the city centre could undermine the ambition that we need both for our city and our university,” warned Mr Leddin, who is a graduate of UL.

In his own personal submission to the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy – which has been roundly criticised for appearing to favour Cork – Mr Leddin said more research and consideration is needed before considering a new university town to determine its impact on the city.

Mr Leddin also criticised a supposed lack of focus on promoting the growth of Limerick.

“The first objective of the National Planning Framework, which the regional strategy is supposed to implement, is ‘Compact Growth’. It is vital that the regional strategy is strengthened and aligned with the National Planning Framework to promote people living, working and being educated in the city centre,” he told the Limerick Leader.

As revealed by this newspaper, the university of Limerick is planning to open a campus in the city centre.

Sources have indicated this could be in Project Opera.