An Taisce scathing over state of Limerick planning


LIMERICK CITY and its environs “rank as a European, if not an international, worst-case scenario in poor strategic planning”, according to a hard-hitting submission from An Taisce’s heritage officer, Ian Lumley.

Mayor of Limerick John Gilligan (Ind) yesterday said that Mr Lumley “is dead right”. The mayor said Limerick had “suffered enormously by being run by three different local authorities”.

Mr Lumley made his submission to the Mid-West Regional Authority on new planning guidelines for the region.

In it, he says Limerick city centre “is suffering serious retail and commercial decline, while unsustainable levels of car-based urban fringe development on the US model have been facilitated in the two county local authority areas, without any strategic integration and exacerbating self-reinforcing patterns of urban decline and urban edge sprawl”.

Mr Lumley argues that while a planning, land use and transport strategy was commissioned by the local authorities in the region over a decade ago, “selfish, short-term interests along with the grabbing of rates, revenue-generating development in inappropriate urban fringe locations in the Clare and Limerick county areas has rendered strategic planning of the Limerick city environs a shambles”.

He further states: “Apart from being one of the most unsustainably car-dependent cities of its size in Europe, the new development created in the sprawl areas of retail parks and surface car parks in locations like Childers Road or beyond the Ennis Road are an inefficient land use, visually bleak and above all, utterly lacking in creating and fostering a sustainable citywide community and accelerating and reinforcing the Limerick city area’s uniquely pocketed urban deprivation.”

He claims that the development of Limerick and the midwest “has replicated the pattern of poor regional planning structures and urban sprawl which has characterised development nationally”.

“The maintenance of inappropriate county boundary distinctions between Limerick city and Clare and Limerick county councils has significantly impeded the sustainable development of Limerick as the regional gateway to the midwest.

“The most problematic areas of urban deprivation within Limerick city has been largely bypassed by the impact of the boom.”

Mr Lumley states: “Although Limerick is situated at the junction of four railway lines, the opportunity of nucleating development along rail corridors has been lost.”

He also claims that the development of the Shannon tunnel “has not been integrated with any creditable city transportation strategy to reduce car dependence or capitalise on the benefit to the city centre of the bypassing of through traffic”.

Mr Gilligan has called on the Minister for the Environment to establish a boundary commission to determine the need for a boundary extension to Limerick city.