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The site which it is proposed to develop.

Homes and digital hub in proposed Ennis development

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A DIGITAL hub, cafe and 46 residential units are planned as part of a proposed transformation of an historic area of Ennis, which the developers say will offer “an opportunity to bring a new vibrancy to this community”.

Eko Integrated Services Ltd have lodged an application for the ‘Buttermarket Development’ at the Drumbiggle Road, Buttermarket Street and Simm’s Lane. The site is in an Architectural Conservation Area of Ennis.

The former Buttermarket building, a protected structure dating from 1862 is located on the opposite side of Simm’s Lane, and according to the developer’s the name ‘Buttermarket Development’ has been chosen “in recognition of the area’s heritage and connection to the former Buttermarket”. In more recent times a flats complex was located on the site which has been demolished.

The site is currently unused with four vacant terraced cottages to the north on Buttermarket Street, which the developers are seeking to demolish as part of the plans.

If given the green light the development will involve the partial removal of the existing wall to the eastern boundary and the construction of 46 residential units in total.

There are plans for a new four-storey apartment building to Drumbiggle Road with 30 two-bedroom apartments and three one-bedroom apartments over semi-basement level with 20 car-parking spaces, secure bicycle store, bin store and plantroom.

Plans further include a cafe and digital hub at ground level to Simm’s Lane; a four storey apartment building, stepping down to three storeys on the Buttermarket Street Lane with seven two-bedroom apartments; six three-storey terraced town houses to Buttermarket Street, a new substation, five new set-down car parking spaces.

The development will include a central shared urban space.

According to a report lodged with the planning authority as part of the application, Eko state, “The development has been designed to meet the demand for high quality, sustainable homes in Ennis and is designed to integrate with the existing context. At a time when there is unprecedented demand for housing, a mixture of apartments and town houses was considered appropriate for this site. The digital hub and cafe will further enhance the development as an attractive place to live and work. The development is an opportunity to bring a new vibrancy to this community in Ennis.”

The developers went on to outline that research has shown there is “little demand” for an extensive commercial development on the site.

“There are existing vacant commercial properties in the vicinity. As there are existing residences adjacent to the site, a potential increase in traffic generated by an extensive commercial development would not be desirable.”

The report outlined that the use of the site as primarily residential with complimentary commercial use was considered the optimum use for a number of reasons. These include the number of residential properties in the immediate area. “The proposed scale of the development will complement the context,” the report states. Also, the report states, the proximity of the site to Ennis town centre’s amenity and public transport connections was also taken into account.

“It will provide high quality sustainable residences when demand for housing is high. The provision of apartments and townhouses aligns with government policy to provide housing tailored to the needs of smaller households in central locations,” the report goes on.

According to the developers the Digital Hub “will provide flexible work space, complementing the residential element. Residents and non-residents working remotely will have the option to use meeting rooms and hot desks on a short-term basis.” While “the provision of a cafe will provide a connection to the wider community”.

“The proposed development has the potential to re-invigorate the area. The public space, the cafe and digital hub will help integrate the residential development with the wider community. Existing shops, pubs and cafes in the area will benefit from additional footfall around the development.”

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