The key points of the Draft Ennis and Environs Local Area Plan 2015-2021 are:
The draft plan zones 110 hectares of land for residential purposes, providing sufficient space for 2,600 housing units and giving the town the potential to reach its 2021 national population target of 32,000, up from 25,000 (2011 Census). The draft plan puts a strong emphasis on increasing the number of people living in the town centre of Ennis.
Economic Development and Enterprise
The draft plan confirms the importance of key employment locations, such as the Gort Road Industrial Estate and Roche in Clarecastle. It also zones land for expansion at Information Age Park, Ennis, in addition to lands for enterprise and light industry on the Kildysart Road. Enterprise zoning from the current town plan is retained at Beechpark, with potential to accommodate a campus-style, low-carbon enterprise park. A site for light industry at the Tulla Road interchange on the M18 and a 33-hectare site zoned industrial in the Toureen area on the Tulla Road have been zoned. The need for additional neighbourhood shopping facilities is recognised, with sites identified at Claureen, Cahercallamore and Clare Road. A site for a motorway service station at junction 12 on the M18/Ennis bypass is identified.
The Draft Plan identifies an opportunity site at Woodquay for the development of a trail head for the West Clare Railway Greenway, the proposed 33-kilometre cycling and walking route linking Ennis to Lahinch. Land suitable for a camping and motor home facility has been zoned in the Newpark/Roslevan area, while a site in the mature woodland setting of Beechpark is zoned tourism for active recreational activities. It is also an objective of the draft plan to carry out a Tourism, Amenity, Recreation and Environmental Management Study for the Ballyalla Lake area.
Travel and mobility are given close attention, with infrastructure safeguards for new routes, including a link between the Gort Road and the Tulla Road. In the interest of smarter travel, a walking and cycling strategy are also prepared and a bus service for Ennis is supported. A new pedestrian bridge between Francis Street and New Road is also proposed.
Town Centre improvements
Twelve opportunity sites have been identified in relation to the expansion and improvement of Ennis town centre. Lysaght’s car park, Barrack Square and Barrack Street are identified as areas needing enhancement.
Improving the appearance of the laneways in Ennis, enhancing Parnell Street and addressing vacancy rates are also prioritised. The draft plan prioritises making O’Connell Square (the Height) a more attractive space, through improvements to lighting, paving, street furniture and regaining a greater amount of civic and public space. The draft plan proposes to prepare a comprehensive and co-ordinated plan for public realm improvements and traffic management in the town centre to make it a more pedestrian-friendly environment. The council has also committed to preparing an amenity scheme for the Post Office Field to make it an accessible riverside space in a sensitive manner.
Expansion of the town centre
Two new anchor developments are identified as opportunity sites, namely the market redevelopment at Garraunakilla, already approved, and a town centre expansion area for retail development, to include the site of the former Boys’ National School and adjoining lands on the Kilrush Road.
Education – The draft plan deals comprehensively with future education needs, through zoning sufficient lands for future expansion of existing schools as necessary and the identification of sites for new schools, including a primary school to serve the Roslevan area.
New County GAA AND Clare Marts sites – The Clare Marts site on the Quin Road has been identified as an opportunity site for a new County GAA grounds/relocation of Cusack Park. The zoning of the mart site as mixed use does not preclude redeveloping the existing County GAA grounds or indicate a lack of support for the current location by the council.
The draft plan zones a site for a new mart adjacent to junction 12 on the Ennis bypass/M18. This prominent site recognises the important role of the agricultural industry and how the grounds associated with a mart, if well located, have the potential for multi-uses.
The draft plan supports the development of a crematorium to serve Clare and the wider region, given the central location of Ennis. A site on the Kildysart Road has been rezoned from residential to community zoning to facilitate this, subject to planning permission.
Public consultation process
Written submissions and observations, with respect to the Draft Ennis and Environs Local Area Plan 2015- 2021 and associated environmental reports, may be made to: Planning and Enterprise Development Department, Clare County Council, Áras Contae an Chláir, New Road, Ennis, or by e-mail to email@example.com (maximum document size by e-mail: 4MB) or may be faxed to 065 6892071 on or before 5pm on Friday, March 6.
A copy of the draft plan may be inspected between 9am and 4pm from this Friday to Friday, March 6 at Áras Contae an Chláir; De Valera Library and all public libraries and Municipal District Offices throughout Clare.
The draft plan will also be available on the council’s website at www.clarecoco.ie from this Friday.