Shannon Chamber has welcomed the adoption of the Shannon Town Centre Masterplan by the Elected Members at the January meeting of Shannon Municipal District.
Speaking following the announcement of its adoption, Chamber CEO Helen Downes said: “As the leading business representative organisation for the wider Shannon area, the Chamber has had a high level of engagement with Clare County Council’s planning team at all stages of the public consultation process of the Plan, from the initial stages when we collaborated with key stakeholders to seek their input through to the final public consultation phases. We welcome the consultative approach that the Council’s team took to finalising the Plan and the fact that its compilation was subject to an economic viability assessment.
“Key elements of the plan that will be of specific interest to our members are the inclusion of an Innovation Campus and a new access road activating lands in the town centre. Having a large quantity of students (1,500) and future workers (1,000) within the innovation and education campus will be hugely supportive for the development of Shannon Town Centre. Shannon has always had a history of innovation at a range of locations from the airport to the Shannon Free Zone. This new innovation area in the town centre will become a centre to continue that innovation, merging the needs of industry with further education and apprenticeship training and injecting vitality and life into the town centre during the day and evenings. Shannon Chamber and its members look forward to assisting in the achievement of this goal.
“We welcome the vision of the planning team and the commitment and vote of confidence of the local authority in Shannon Town to purchase the lands to achieve the creation of the new One Shannon Hub building, which will combine the Local Authority Town Hall, a performing arts venue, library and flexible co-working spaces in the town square.
“The development of a new ‘Main Street’ will be an innovative take on the traditional main street of Irish towns and will contribute to a sense of place for Shannon, where people come first. We look forward to seeing this Main Street bringing together local and independent retail, bars and restaurants, spaces for enterprise, education, showcase and in general an ‘urban front door’ to the Centre of Excellence and further into the innovation and education campus.
“The provision of high-quality dwellings in the town centre and the creation of improvement to the public realm will enhance the quality of town centre, potentially increase footfall and make Shannon a more attractive place to visit, work, shop and live,” added Ms Downes
In all its public consultation submissions to the Shannon Town Centre Masterplan, Shannon Chamber continually reinforced its requirement for visible manifestation that this Plan, unlike previous Plans, would be delivered on, and rolled out in its entirety to definitive timelines, set down at the outset. The Chamber also requested the appointment of a dedicated and full-time project director, who would be charged with preparing and delivering on an implementation plan with key actions, timelines, and milestones.
“We hope these requests will be acted on as they are imperative to the successful delivery of the Plan in full,” stated Ms Downes.
“We welcome the emphasis on implementation of the Plan and the target to seek Urban Regeneration Development Fund (URDF) funding this year. We look forward to the Plan being submitted for and attaining successful consideration in the next funding call.
“Shannon Chamber board and executive thank the Clare County Council’s planning team, its members, the elected members of Shannon Municipal District, Chamber members, the public and all who have engaged in the process to deliver this visionary and transformative town centre plan. We look forward to playing our part to realising the ambition of the Plan,” Ms Downes concluded.