Limerick’s Opera Site development plan is ‘fundamentally flawed’

Michelle Hayes, Hayes Solicitors Pic: Cian Reinhardt
Michelle Hayes, Hayes Solicitors Pic: Cian Reinhardt

THE proposed Opera Site development is “unsustainable, fundamentally flawed and materially contravenes planning guidelines”.

That’s according to  An Taisce Limerick chairperson Michelle Hayes in a submission lodged with An Bord Pleanála on the proposed 3.7 acre Opera Site project.

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Ms Hayes also takes issue that the proposed €180m development does not contain adequate housing provision, “instead comprising mainly office accommodation with smaller areas for commercial activity including an AirBnB type apart hotel and a small number of residential units, 16 apartments in total containing 34 bedrooms.

The proposed 15-storey tower block, she suggests, is “reminiscent of the 15-storey Ballymun tower blocks which had to be demolished due to anti-social behaviour, drug crime and social disorder”.

Miss Hayes went on to warn in her submission to An Bord Pleanála of the ramifications the massive cost of this “excessive” scale development will have for the rest of the Council’s other strategies and commitments including housing.

“The development includes a 15-storey high rise tower block, 65 metres high, facing the Abbey River.  It will have major negative and oppressive visual impact, will irreversibly injure the skyline, is out of scale and out of character and will completely overshadow Bank Place, the Quays, the Abbey River, the Hunt Museum, Barrington’s Hospital, the Locke Bar etc.,” she claims.

“The development proposed is unsustainable, fundamentally flawed, materially contravenes planning guidelines including the Urban Development and Building Heights – Guidelines for Planning Authorities, December 2018, the National Spatial Planning Framework 2040, creates significant adverse environmental effects, lacks imagination and vision, has severely detrimental visual impact, is poorly thought out and if permitted, would permanently and irreparably damage the character of the area and create a real and substantial impediment to the proper planning and sustainable development of Limerick City as a whole.”

Ms Hayes also maintained in her submission this week that the proposed development is unsustainable and will lead to substantially increased traffic congestion particularly at peak hours and adverse environmental impact on the city “with only 55 additional car parking spaces intended for such a massive development”.

“It will result in greater carbon footprint, fossil fuel burning etc. and is not in accordance with climate change and action policy.”