PROGRESS with the Scariff Rural Regeneration Project has stepped up a gear, now that the planning process has begun.
A Part 8 planning application for a series of town centre works has gone to public consultation, with submissions being accepted up to December 12.
Under the application, it is proposed to change the former Supermacs building into a digital hub and to convert the Merriman Tavern into a community centre and community space.
The construction of a car park on a green-field site close to the Market Square is also outlined, as well as pedestrian access from the R352 and the rear boundary wall of the Merriman.
The application notes that works would materially affect the Scariff Architectural Conservation Area. An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) screening determination has concluded that “there is no real likelihood of significant effects on the environment arising from the proposed development” and that an EIA is not required.
Killaloe Cathaoirleach, Councillor Alan O’Callaghan described the development as “a huge boost” to Scariff. “This is going to provide a hugely welcome boost,” he said.
“Parking is an ongoing problem and this will really boost the centre of the town. The hub will allow people who might be trying to work remotely at home to access better services. The regeneration will also help to minimise dereliction and bring new life into the centre of the town.”
Councillor Joe Cooney who has raised the parking issue in Scariff “on umpteen occasions”, said he is delighted with the progress to-date.
“This news is simply fantastic,” he said. “It’s great that there has been so much progress in such a short space of time. We are all well aware of the parking issues in Scariff. This will go some way towards addressing that. I believe the application will be approved. Officials kept their promise of having planning underway in the last quarter of this year. I am hopeful that we will then get the funding needed, especially in relation to the parking side of things.”
Last January, an allocation of just over half a million Euro was made by the Minister for Rural and Community Development towards the Scariff Rural Regeneration Project.
The works will involve the development of a Multi Service Innovation and Engagement Hub, improvements to the centre of the town, around the Market Square, and the new car park.
During the month of March, a major public consultation process was facilitated, with plans on display in the town. A further application for funding will be made once planning is approved.
Full details of the planning application are available to view at the offices of Clare County Council in Ennis and in Scariff, as well as online at Yoursay.clarecoco.ie/scarriff-rrp.
Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald.
Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti.
She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at The University of Galway.
If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at [email protected] or telephone 065 6864146.