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Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar is reflected in a wall mirror addressing the gathering at the launch of Ennis 2040 in the Old Ground Hotel. Photograph by John Kelly

Apartment solution to Ennis population growth ambition

WHILE Ennis is in the grip of a housing crisis, the Ennis 2040 strategy suggests a significant increase in the town’s population can be accommodated.

The strategy, launched by An Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, proposes high density development composed mostly of two-bedroom units, with some one- and three-bed units.

Up to 1,500 apartments could be developed, the strategy posits.

Annual population growth of 1.6% per annum is projected, bringing the town’s population to around 37,000 by 2040, and it identifies areas where these new residents can be accommodated.

First off, it says that 30 hectares of land in the town centre can be made available for housing in the inner area of Ennis.

“It is envisaged that spare land capacity identified in the inner area will be used to achieve a mix of uses, in the form of a combination of commercial and residential development,” the strategy states.

“Broadly speaking, a 50-50 split might result in 30 hectares of residential development land and 30 hectares for commercial development.

“Residential uses in the Town Centre should be designed at a higher density than that of the intermediate or outer areas, perhaps at an average density of 45-50 units per hectare. This would result in 1,350-1,500 additional units in the Town Centre.

“These units would be primarily two bed in nature, with some one bedroom and three bedroom units. At an average of 2 to 2.5 people per unit, this would result in an increase in the population of the inner area of between 2,700 and 3,750 people.”

In locations bordering on the town centre, it says thousands more accommodated.

“A total population of approximately 19,000 people currently reside in the intermediate areas, or the locations surrounding the town centre. For development in the intermediate area, it is anticipated that a relatively higher proportion of residential development would be provided, perhaps at a 60-40 split in favour of residential.”

It claims this would provide for 3,500 to 4,500 units, with a higher proportion of these being three bedrooms, meaning that 9,000 to 12,500 residents could be accommodated.

In the outer areas of Ennis, it says a smaller but not insubstantial increase in the number of residential properties can be provided.

“Residential development in this area would be lower density at approximately 15 units per hectare, with potential for an additional 700-800 units or up to approximately 2,000 to 2,400 people, based on an occupancy rate of 2.8-3 persons per household.

“While population density in this area would still remain low given its overall size, it would constitute a substantial increase from the current situation.”

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.