Funding boost for Ennis Town Centre regeneration project
Clare County Council has been allocated €4,042,793 towards the Ennis Town Centre Public Realm Regeneration Project which will lead to a rejuvenation of key Town Centre streetscapes.
The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, today (Friday, 19th March) announced that Ennis is among the successful applicants under the Government’s Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF), which is intended to drive regeneration and rejuvenation of strategic and underutilised areas within Ireland’s cities and large towns.
The successful project, O’Connell Square, High Street, Bank Place, Barrack Street and Old Barrack Square, has an overall cost of €5,390,391 with 75 per cent of the cost being granted funded under the URDF, and the remaining 25 per cent being financed by Clare County Council.
Councillor Paul Murphy, Mayor of Ennis Municipal District, said: “The planned upgrade of these key Town Centre locations is a very welcome development. I believe that Clare County Council’s proposed plan will deliver a new vibrant Town Centre that will benefit residents, business and visitors for many years to come. The project has the following ambitions. For Barrack Square and Old Barrack Street the project will develop the area as a ‘café quarter’ and will deliver a higher-quality civic space, where people are attracted to meet, relax and enjoy the ambience while availing of the local retail opportunities. The rejuvenated space will not only benefit from the footfall in the surrounding streets but will become a destination, attracting its own footfall. The works to O’Connell Square, High Street and O’Connell Street will also increase footfall by making the spaces more attractive to pedestrians, through the provision of an enhanced expanded plaza, with seating and planting. An interactive pavement fountain will add to its unique appeal and form part of the visitor experiences. Works to the public realm will make the area more attractive and deliver universal access, supporting the area as the focal point of the town and commercial activity.”
Pat Dowling, Chief Executive of Clare County Council, said: “The upgrade of the public realm in Ennis has been a longstanding objective of Clare County Council and this funding, along with the Parnell Street, Laneways and Bow-ways project, represents a significant investment for the town of Ennis. The result of this investment will be a safer and more attractive pedestrian environment and spaces that can also have a civic function, facilitating the Town Centre as a destination, improving its vitality and enabling Ennis to capitalise on its existing assets.”
Welcoming the announcement, Carmel Kirby, Director of Services with responsibility for Ennis Municipal District, said: “The quality of public spaces are linked to people’s perceptions of the attractiveness of an area, contributing towards their quality of life and influencing where they shop. The award of this funding for Ennis is a recognition of the ambition Clare County Council, Ennis Municipal District and its stakeholders have for Ennis. Public realm interventions are associated with subsequent increases in employment and tourism, increases in property prices and preferences to locate and shop in particular locations. Importantly, it raises the self-esteem and wellbeing of residents and creates a greater demand to locate permanently in an area. Public realm improvements also promote investor confidence in an area as there are financial benefits from investing in well planned good-quality street design which can boost footfall and trading by up to 40 per cent.”
Leonore O’Neill, Senior Executive Officer and Project Manager for the Ennis Town Centre Public Realm Programme, said the project has “a purpose of regenerating the public realm, significantly improving accessibility for pedestrians, providing an enhanced streetscape, and delivering two expanded, high-quality civic spaces with the overall aim of making the Town Centre experience more appealing and conducive for both retail and social purposes. The key features of the project include shared surface treatment, widened footpaths, high-quality surface materials with improved street furniture, lighting and signage, street trees, canopy structures, and an interactive pavement fountain. The design development for the project has been informed through a process of public consultation, stakeholder engagement and technical design studies and the proposals at the Height and Barrack Square areas have secured Part 8 planning permission.”
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