Gort Rd Industrial Estate “is in serious need of rebranding and investment”, Cllr Johnny Flynn has claimed.
As reported by The Clare Echo in January, there are 28 vacant units at the Industrial Estate, 12 of these are for sale with 15 available to let. “Of the 28 units, 11 are shell and core, externally complete but requiring internal fit out and services. 14 have services, toilets, access floors, suspended ceilings, internal wall finishes and blinds. 2 are fully fitted out, including furniture, air conditioning, audio visual equipment, offices, meeting and conference rooms and kitchen areas. One unit is in a turn-key condition,” Director of Economic Development, Liam Conneally outlined.
In a motion to the February meeting of Clare County Council, Cllr Johnny Flynn proposed the local authority “rebrand and carry out re-investment of Gort Road Business Park (Industrial Estate) and its properties to create a Clare Green or Clean Tech Park in order to address among other things, current vacancy rates, lack of roundabout access, quality of properties, change in property solutions needs of potential enterprise and technology occupiers”.
Referring to the 45 percent vacancy, Conneally said, “The Council is in a strong position to deal with enquiries and to work with the owners to maximise the use of the properties and develop optimum solutions to meet the needs of the emerging economic sectors, such as the technology sector. With regard to the access, the Economic Development Directorate submitted an application for funding to Government under the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF) for the extension of the Northern inner Relief road to the Tulla Road and to include a new junction treatment for both the Clare Technology Park and the Gort Road Business Park. Further efforts will be made to secure a funding stream for a new and improved access to the site, taking account of current and future needs in this area”.
“It has gone into decline into the period of economic collapse, it is in serious need of rebranding and investing. The vacancy rate at 45% is very high, 27 vacant units are industrial and warehouse,” Cllr Johnny Flynn replied. He maintained there was a “huge opportunity” to establish a green business park “Clare is producing more green energy than is being consumed”. The Fine Gael councillor added, “All marketing is about branding and clustering, successful areas in Munster have rebranded themselves. A lighthouse identity tells people exactly what the park stands for, if we decide go with a green tech we will achieve it”.
Independent councillor Christy Curtin seconded what he described “a very imaginative motion”. “It is very well thought out”. Cllr Mary Howard admitted, “I wasn’t aware the vacancy rate was so high”, she praised Cllr Flynn “for a novel and different approach”. Shannon councillor Gerry Flynn felt it was “something that needs looking at and maybe needs some support from the Council. Some expertise from Shannon Commercial Properties would be welcome”.
“I too agree with the thrust of the motion, it is thoughtful and from my expertise it will add significant value. We’re looking very closely from the Ennis 2040 on how we brand Ennis and this location will be subject to this. I believe we have significant expertise in house. We will consult with other stakeholders,” Liam Conneally concluded.