Fears that university town could take focus from city

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Brian Leddin will run for the Green Party in the 2019 local elections. pic: Conor Buckley Limerick News
Brian Leddin will run for the Green Party in the 2019 local elections. pic: Conor Buckley

The Green Party local election candidate for Limerick City North, Brian Leddin, has warned that a wedge could be driven between the University of Limerick and the city by the development of a new town on the Clare side of the campus.

The proposal for the new town on the Clare side of the Shannon River features in the draft Regional Strategy for the Southern Region.

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“This strategy will shape how Limerick, Cork and Waterford will develop for the next twenty years. We all want to see a strong UL but the proposal of creating a new university town on the outskirts of the city is premature. It could lead to further weakening the ties between the city and the university,” he said.

“Cities and universities drive growth together. They drive investment, social inclusion, employment opportunities and diversity. Pushing the campus further outside the city centre could undermine the ambition that we need both for our city and our university.”

“There has been very little public consultation on this, and I believe that the new Clare campus should not be included in the regional plan. That is not to say it should not happen, but more research and consideration is needed to determine its impact on the city”.

The proposed South Clare Economic Strategic Development Zone is located just north of the existing campus at UL. It is planned to become Europe’s first 21st Century University town.

Mr Leddin added that it was vital that the regional strategy was strengthened and aligned with the National Planning Framework to promote people living, working and being educated in the city centre.”

The public consultation on the draft plan is open until March 8 and members of the public are invited to send their submissions.