WELCOMING plans for a new €600m development near the Ballysimon Road, local councillors believe it is vitally important the developer gets the balance right.
Limerick-based Kirkland Investments are to seek planning permission for a new suburb in Limerick City East on 25 hectares of land across a brownfield site at Towlerton, where the M7 and N24 meet.
The massive development, which is expected to deliver up to 4,000 jobs, will include office spaces, 300 apartments, a Lidl supermarket, and a hotel on the outskirts of the city near Ballysimon.
The project includes the construction of an Educate Together post-primary school at Groody Road. Costing in the region of €19m to build, the new school is located across from Northern Trust, close to the new Bon Secours hospital site.
The 14-acre Educate Together campus will include 60 classrooms, as well as a large outdoor learning courtyard and a sports hall with a state-of-the-art fitness suite.
Part of the plans for the new development also include a five-storey medical centre, operating independently of the Bon Secours hospital, which would provide consultation rooms. The new €190m private hospital will be opened in 2025, creating 250 new jobs and expand services to patients in the Mid West.
Labour Party councillor Elena Secas said she is glad residential development and residential care are incorporated in the overall masterplan for the Ballysimon development.
“Looking at the whole proposal, I think it would be very important to get the right balance for the site and for the wider community and a traffic management plan for this whole area must be submitted with this proposal,” she added.
Green Party councillor Seán Hartigan was of the view that the development would provide much needed accommodation and jobs in the area with close access to places of employment, education, and health.
“When processing this application, the Council should take into account the need for recreational spaces in the area, such as playing pitches, parks, and play parks,” Cllr Hartigan added.
“The adjoining area of the Groody valley would be ideal for development of a nature park with walking and cycling connectivity to the University of Limerick while still protecting and restoring the biodiversity potential of the wet grassland and the Groody River.
“It would make the accommodation attractive to people working in UL and the National Technological Park, and provide space for biodiversity, recreation, and active travel,” the City East representative added.
Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil councillor Catherine Slattery said that councillors in the City East area were not aware of the €600m development in Ballysimon.
“Nor have I seen the proposed plans, which is very disheartening to all councillors in Limerick City East as the first we heard about it was when it was announced in the media. We have raised this type of announcement with Council officials’ in the past advising we should be briefed but as usual it has fallen on deaf ears.
“I cannot comment too much without seeing the plans, but housing and employment are always very welcome,” Cllr Slattery concluded.