Councillors want Limerick to get the city centre it deserves

The Arthurs Quay Framework area.

LIMERICK City and County Council has been criticised for seeking tenders for a multi-disciplinary team to prepare a framework plan for the Arthur’s Quay area without first engaging with local business and property owners.

The Council is now working with landowners in the area on the framework including University of Limerick, Arthur’s Quay Shopping Centre, Penneys, and the owner of the Debenhams building.

The plan will set out the guidelines for a comprehensive approach to the redevelopment of the riverside area, which it hopes will lead to the transformation of the city centre.

However, Fine Gael city councillor and former Metropolitan Mayor Sarah Kiely believes engagement with the business and property owners should have happened before seeking tenders.

“As someone who worked and was educated in Limerick City, I understand the complexity of the area but I find this difficult to comprehend.

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“As far as I’m concerned, the first task should be to meet with the property owners individually or as a group,” she told the Limerick Post.

Cllr Kiely is of the view that the local authority has a responsibility to make sure Limerick gets the city centre it deserves.

“The timescale for action is of the utmost importance and I’m not sure all that can be done is being done to do this in a timely fashion.

“I really hope I’m wrong and our Council meeting with the executive on Thursday will give us the answers we need to assure all that needs to be done, is being done.”

Funding for this Framework Plan will come from the Waterfront Urban Regeneration Development Fund Programme.

The framework will sit under the new Limerick Development Plan. The area includes Arthur’s Quay Park and Sarsfield House and will incorporate the flood protection work ongoing for the city.

Mayor of Limerick, Cllr Francis Foley (FF) believes the framework plan is to be hugely welcomed.

“As a riverside city it is important that we embrace the river, the role it plays within the city, and maximise its potential. We must also work with the people of Limerick to have their ideas taken into account when we are looking at the future development of Arthur’s Quay and the surrounding areas,” Mayor Foley said.

Labour Party councillor Conor Sheehan also welcomed the  proposals. He feels that for too long Limerick City has effectively had its back to the river.

“It is clear to anyone that this area needs significant attention. Arthur’s Quay Park has phenomenal potential as a civic space, as has been shown through events like Riverfest,” the City North representative opined.

“We need to see a city centre fit and welcoming for people and not just businesses, with space for people to congregate that prioritises the needs of pedestrians above motorists.

“It must be accessible to all from eight to 80 years of age and a place where people want to spend time,” Cllr Sheehan added.