Limerick City and County Council, the Land Development Agency (LDA), CIÉ and other stakeholders have today announced plans to explore how a strategic land bank in excess of 50 hectares under state ownership can be re-imagined and re-developed to create a new 21st Century urban neighbourhood at Limerick’s city centre train and bus station, Colbert Station.
The re-development project will be master-planned in line with best international principles of sustainable transport-oriented development to provide for a new urban living district including housing, work, cultural and play areas, along with public services such as health and educational facilities.
The Board of the LDA has agreed today to provide initial funding to commence the master-planning process for the lands, of which the CIÉ lands make up the majority.
The beginning of the master-planning exercise marks the first LDA commitment to housing development in Limerick. In conjunction with Limerick City and County Council, the Department of Education, the HSE and CIÉ, the initiative marks a major step towards the re-development of Limerick city centre in line with the objectives set out in Project Ireland 2040.
The master-planning exercise will evolve high-level framework proposals for the development of the area. These proposals will be tested and informed by wide-ranging consultation with the elected members of Limerick City and County Council, the people of Limerick, community representatives and stakeholder groups. The RIAI has agreed to support the master-planning exercise through their design review process.
The process will also incorporate analysis of infrastructure, funding and other implementation requirements and help inform the on-going process being conducted by Limerick City and County Council for the statutory development plan for Limerick. The process is expected to begin as soon as possible, commencing with an initial scoping exercise.
Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Eoghan Murphy TD, welcomed the announcement and reiterated the Government’s commitment to delivering additional housing under Project Ireland 2040.
“Not only will the master-planning process outline a roadmap for future development at Limerick’s Colbert Station, it will also help provide a framework for development in other key urban areas by adopting international best practice in the delivery of social and affordable housing, as well as work and community spaces. This is a hugely important part of the work of the Land Development Agency.”
Mayor of the City and County of Limerick, Cllr Michael Sheahan, said: “We all know the need to create new alternative housing and work opportunities in Limerick, to facilitate growth in our region while remaining one of the most affordable places to live in Ireland. These lands, which are so centrally located, present a perfect opportunity for the re-development of and investment into underutilised parts of our city. I welcome this initiative and I look forward to the consultation phase where elected members and the people of Limerick will be involved in inputting to the masterplan.”
Chairman of the LDA, John Moran, said: “It is important to build for the future before it is upon us. For the LDA, which is itself an agency with a national focus, we welcome the opportunity to complement our existing sites in Dublin, Cork and Galway, by working in other areas where upward demographic pressure is expected. I am particularly pleased to see officials at Limerick City and County Council and the other stakeholders willing to do that with ambition and for scale.”
John Coleman, CEO of the LDA, said: “Like our other regional cities, Limerick has huge potential for increasing its scale by providing attractive living and working spaces in core city centre locations such as the area around Colbert Station. I am delighted that we can work with Limerick City and County Council and the land owners to take the first step towards realising Limerick’s special opportunity for a major transit oriented mixed purpose development”.
Lorcan O’Connor, CEO of the CIÉ Group, welcomed news of the Master Plan noting “By working together with other landowners and stakeholders, we can ensure the best sustainable development for Limerick City centred around the existing rail and bus services in the area. CIÉ believes it is critical that all future large scale developments across Ireland are based upon the principles behind Transport Orientated Development."
Chief Executive of Limerick City and County Council, Dr Pat Daly, outlined the potential scope for collaboration between all the parties. “We are delighted to work with the LDA on the further development of sites in the city centre. This will be complementary to the work that Limerick Twenty Thirty has done in terms of making sure we have high-grade commercial property in the city through the Gardens International project and the ongoing work in the redevelopment of the Opera Centre and Cleeves. Limerick will continue its hugely positive transformation over the coming years and projects such as this will be major catalysts for growth. It is also very encouraging to see such positive collaboration from all parties involved, collaboration that will provide a development framework for the long term sustainable development of our city centre,” Dr Daly said.