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Picture emerges of new market

A radical new design concept has been put forward for the first phase of a planned re-vamp of Ennis’ market.

Phase one of the redevelopment of the market will begin at Garraunakilla, the site of the current Farmer’s Market. The plans involve creating a ‘covered’ market, with the first phase part of a wider scheme of improvements to the entire market area.

Consideration had been given to having ‘umbrella’ style covers of the market. However, the new design unveiled this week involves the creation of a permanent roof for market goers made of patent glazing or plexi-glass.

The concept includes the creation of a landmark entrance from a new pedestrian forecourt in a highly visible location on the boundary between Market Place and Garraunakilla. The new enclosure design features a covering of the entire public circulation areas of the market with the permanent roof with retractable awnings giving cover to stalls on market days. It is proposed that the space would continue in use as a carpark on non market days.

The idea has already received the unanimous backing of members of Ennis Town Council, with the local authority now set to engage in consultation with local businesses and residents.

The proposed design was outlined to members of the town council by Eilis Ó Nualláin, executive planner with Clare County Council. She explained, “The idea is to create a more dynamic and economically sustainable market at Garraunakilla which could act as a catalyst for improvements in the vicinity.

“The concept scheme is based on the importance of forming a suitable landmark to attract people to the area, and providing a more pedestrian friendly sheltered environment in which to shop. Such an environment would also facilitate other interesting or family friendly events and activities, which would draw people and footfall. These elements would help to build the critical mass needed to support commercial activity in this important area of Ennis Town Centre.”

She outlined that the proposal is still at the concept stage and that public consultation and costings have yet to be carried out. Town manager Ger Dollard has described the proposal as “very positive” and he emphasised the importance of consultation with interested parties in moving the project forward.

“The fact that it got unanimous approval is a major step in itself. It is only a first step, but it is a very important first step. We now really start on the delivery of the project, and there is obviously a need for a strong degree of consultation. There is a need to develop detailed plans and costings and that is what we will be focusing on. We do appreciate the traders in the market itself and the traders adjoining the market and the residents all need to be consulted but the first forum to present the concept was to the elected members which we did this week.”

While he could not give a time line for market redevelopment project, he did say, “We have made huge progress in the space of two months and it is our intention to try to continue that rate of progress over the coming months.”

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