THE redevelopment of Ennis’ market has moved a step closer this week with members of Ennis Town Council agreeing to seek a loan for the proposed plan for Garraunakilla.
The council will be looking for a loan of €1.75 million from the government to facilitate the proposed works, with the construction of the covered market itself expected to cost less than half a million while much of the funding would also be spent on improvements to the general area.
Members of the council gave their backing to the planned re-vamp of the market on Monday evening, with council officials stressing that this is just “one step in a process”. According to town manager Ger Dollard there will be full consultation, funding will have to be sourced and a tender process will have to be gone through before any works are carried out. He emphasised, “the users of the market will have to be happy with the facility, we want this to work.”
“Our only objective is to enhance the market and to strengthen the market and we hope to provide a modern facility that will enhance the pedestrian activity and act as a kickstart, or catalyst for other developments in the wider area,” said Mr Dollard adding that the proposed plans are just one phase of a wider project for the entire market area of Ennis.
Town clerk Leonard Cleary also commented, “it is intended to undertake a detailed engagement with users of the facility prior to proceeding with any tender process for works. This will facilitate the development of robust operational arrangements and the determination of a comprehensive management and maintenance plan. This is important to ensure that the development, as an iconic project in the market area, can be a catalyst for the rejuvenation of the general market area which is a very important feature of Ennis.”
There are currently 40 spaces available in the current layout, with the new plan proposing a car park for 27 vehicles on non-market days. According to a planner’s report into the proposed development presented to members of Ennis Town Council this week, the current car parking layout is “generally haphazard with cars having to reverse onto moving vehicular and pedestrian traffic. The proposal by providing for a singular vehicular access to the car park would result in a safer environment for motorists and pedestrians.” The planner report also adds that the council are working towards the provision of additional parking for this area of the town. The report states that the proposal will “greatly improve facilities for vehicular and pedestrian traffic.”
Six submissions in relation the proposed development were received with mixed responses from the public to the plan. Among them, members of the Farmers Market cited a number of concerns about the design and scale, the amount of prior consultation, and managerial issues among others.
Ennis Chamber have also made a submission, commending the initiative to create a covered market “which can become an iconic go-to location to attract customers and visitors.” However, they went on to say that such a development should not be to the detriment of investment in car parking facilities.