THE transformation of Ennis’ Abbey Street Carpark into a retail and office space is set to be the first project to be delivered under the Ennis 2040 plan it has been revealed.
The proposed re-development, if given the green light, is expected to create hundreds of jobs and draw thousands of shoppers into Ennis’ town centre.
A planning application for Abbey Street is to be lodged by the middle of this year, the Ennis Designated Activity Company (DAC) have confirmed.
The Ennis 2040 DAC say the proposed project would result in 100 permanent jobs once complete and 200 jobs during construction, and create a town centre footfall of 20,000 shoppers a week.
COO of Ennis 2040 Kevin Corrigan said that, “The Ennis 2040 team and Clare County Council are working hard to deliver on the vision of a vibrant and sustainable town centre for future generations. Ennis 2040 will be commencing extensive public consultations on the proposed town centre projects in the near future and we look forward to engaging with local communities and businesses.”
The proposed Abbey Street Carpark Redevelopment project will consist of a large retail and office development in the town centre with extensive landscaping and high-quality public realm.
According to the Ennis 2040 DAC the riverside location which is being currently used as a car park is being developed to consolidate the town centre as a retail and commercial regional hub.
As well as the jobs and shopping boost, other anticipated benefits of the project include the transformation of the Abbey Street area “into a vibrant attractive area to work and shop”.
The re-development will “support the continued commercial viability of town centre retail and business”. It is hoped that the delivery of an accessible office facility will be attractive to multinational start-ups.
The delivery of a large retail outlet “will complement the existing mix of retail in Ennis and strengthen the attractiveness of Ennis as a retail destination.”
The proposal will result in a “substantial investment into the facilities and public realm in The Abbey Street area.”
Ennis 2040 DAC has commenced master planning on a number of sites in 2022 and it is intended to begin public consultation on those plans in the first quarter of this year. It is proposed to lodge a planning application for Abbey Street by mid-2023.
To offset any loss of car parking in Abbey Street a planning application for an interim carpark will be lodged by Clare County Council in the first half of 2023 for the site on the corner Francis Street and the Causeway link road.
“The Abbey Street Carpark Redevelopment project is part of an overall delivery strategy to revitalise the Ennis town centre and deliver a unique experience for those living, working, shopping and visiting Ennis through the implementation of the agreed Ennis 2040 Economic and Spatial Strategy.
“The strategy is focused on promoting sustainable economic development for the benefit of Ennis Town and its people. All proposed Ennis 2040 developments are fully co-ordinated and sequenced with other Clare County Council projects planned for the town centre to minimise disruption and impacts of any anticipated works.”
Welcoming the plans, Mayor of Ennis, Councillor Clare Colleran Molloy said, “This project, in addition to the development of other transformational sites identified in the Ennis 2040 Economic & Spatial Strategy, is intended to ensure that the vibrancy of Ennis as a key town in Ireland is assured into the future and to prevent the so-called doughnut effect of out-of-town development, as evidenced in other towns, such as Sligo for example.
“The Ennis 2040 Company is focused on garnering broad stakeholder engagement to ensure optimal support for the economic and spatial development of Ennis from those of us who live, work, visit and shop in Ennis.”
Following an extensive stakeholder consultation Clare County Council launched the Ennis 2040 Economic and Spatial Strategy in 2021.
The strategy is an integrated approach to planning which included spatial/ economic /mobility / environmental / flood risk considerations. The strategy will
guide the long-term development of Ennis and actively promote investment opportunities.
The Ennis 2040 Designated Activity Company (DAC) was set up to deliver the Ennis 2040 transformational projects in September 2021.