THE architect behind Limerick’s Milk Market has highlighted Lysaght’s Lane, at Lower Market Street Car Park, as the preferred location for a new Ennis’ Farmer’s Market as part a proposed revamp of the county capital’s market areas.
Efforts are being made to provide a covered market in the town and a number of works have been proposed for improvements at Market Place and Market Street including the removal of the existing roundabout.
Richard Rice, director of Healy Partners Architects, was commissioned by Ennis Town Council to examine Ennis’ market with particular reference to providing a covered market. Their assessment looked at the existing market locations of Market Place, Market Street and Garraunakilla, the current location of the Farmer’s Market.
Other locations examined included Wood Quay/Parnell Street car park, Abbey Street car park, spaces adjacent to the Temple Gate Hotel and the County Museum, Old Barrack Street and Lysaght’s Lane.
According to the architect’s preliminary report presented to members of Ennis Town Council this week the market needs “to be retained at its historical base” of Market Place and Market Street.
The report states, “It would be important to improve the public realm in order to improve the overall visual appearance and function of the market in these areas.” Works proposed include the widening of footpaths and parking areas and a reduction of road width.
The architect also proposed the removal of the existing roundabout at the market and converting the footprint of the area to pedestrian space, incorporating the existing Market Day sculptures. The control of access to Lysaght’s Lane on market days to make it safer for parents and children has also been suggested.
The report goes on to state, “Traders should be encouraged to develop more decorative market stalls and make presentation of their products vibrant and interesting.”
It adds, “These market locations are in close proximity to the retail core of the town and there are opportunities for a more established market to increase footfall for both the market and retail businesses on the street.”
In examining Garraunakilla, the current location for the Farmer’s Market, the architect found that while it is a well established location with good visibility, there are a number of challenges to the area as a market location.
The architects instead recommended that the car park at Lysaght’s Lane should be the location for the town’s farmer’s market. According to the report, the space offers good shelter and strong sense of enclosure.
“This location is backing onto the heart of Ennis town’s retail core,” the report states. It goes on to say that the removal of the surface car park would have a “positive effect” removing the need for car access from the roundabout and “create a pedestrian core in the town centre”.
“It would be our opinion that the Farmer’s Artisan relocated to this area would allow such a market to grow in terms of days of operation and allow more direct access to the market for people shopping within the retail core.”
Elected members of Ennis Town Council received a briefing on the preliminary ideas last month, agreeing to undertake consultation with market stall holders. A public open workshop was held last week at the council’s civic room to discuss the project, with representatives of stall holders, Ennis Tidy Towns, Ennis Chamber and elected members among those present.
At the meeting, Mr Rice made a formal presentation on his suggestions for growing the market from Lower Market Street Car Park (Lysaght’s Lane) through the mall towards the Market Day sculpture and roundabout.
A proposal was also received from the floor for the council to examine opportunities for improved access and permeability to Lower Market Street Car Park from adjacent streets while access from O’Connell Street was also raised.
Speaking at the meeting of the council this week, Leonard Cleary, town clerk, stated, “Ennis Town Council has discussed the importance of rejuvenating Ennis Market at a number of recent council meetings. The elected members requested that this project be prioritised for attention in the final year of the term of the current council. The market also emerged in the Ennis 2020 Framework as an important project requested during the community consultations.”
He added, “This project has the potential to become the flagship legacy project for the final year of this Ennis Town Council term.” Councillor Johnny Flynn proposed that the matter proceed to part eight planning.
However, it was agreed to hold a special meeting of council to further discuss the suggestions.