BUSINESS AND PROPERTY OWNERS in the Quin Rd Business Park are up in arms over the plans of the Shannon Airport Group to sell its 4.9 acre site and the management of the estate services and infrastructure at the location.

Within the past fortnight, a new zoning was issued for the 4.9 acre site in accordance with the new Clare County Development Plan which is currently in draft format.

One business owner in the area told The Clare Echo, “The 4.9 acres is a buffer zone between Riverside Business Park and the main Quin road. Two weeks ago the new zoning was reissued and that 4.9 acres is still zoned as a flood plain and buffer zone, if planning was granted for anything on that land then the other existing units would be in danger of flooding and the County Council would be responsible”.

Concerned business owners have held meetings in different locations including The Peppermill Restaurant this week and they have shared their fears with the Shannon Airport Group via a letter which was issued to the company on Tuesday in advance of a tender deadline set for 12pm on Wednesday (yesterday). This deadline has been extended by five weeks in light of the fight initiated by business personnel.

The correspondence obtained by The Clare Echo referenced the erection of a sign at the front of the estate indicating Shannon Airport Group’s intention to sale the estate and also fee farm grants and revisionary interests in tandem with the sale of the front site. “In that vein many of us were previously unaware of the companies intention or wish to sell the fee farm grants and end our respective overall relationship with Shannon Properties. We are disappointed that no active engagement took place with the businesses onsite in advance of the listed tender”.

How the process of sale is progressing has frustrated business owners and the inability of parties directly affected to make a competitive tender submission in the timeline allowed. Clarity has been sought by business owners on the Group’s intention to sell the fee farm grants and reversionary interests as part of the sales tender.

“Secondly no schedule of dilapidations has been provided with the legal pack even though the condition of both the pump station, lights, sewers and roads are a sizeable liability for any potential purchaser. We understand this survey was carried out previously and issued to potential buyers with associated costings. Can this please be provided? We however would contend that the provision of this significant information at this late stage will not allow us sufficient time to analyse, seek professional advice and confirm validity of same in advance of the tender deadline”.

The correspondence added, “As a semi-state entity we would hope at all times that fair and equitable scenario would be in place and if such a schedule has been provided to other we would contend that this may not be a fair tender process unless it was also provided as part of the legal pack. We would also contend that if such a schedule was in existence in any form it would be optimal for all tenderer and vendors that it is divulged at the earliest possible opportunity. Our understanding is that two of the owners associated with the campus have indicated that they were part of and paid for the provision of a substantial size storm line servicing the estate part of the sale. No documents associated with this service are include in the sales document”.

Reservations were expressed by the businesses that the advertising and tender process was completed over the Mid-Term break “and that signage only indicating same allowed for circa twelve days to contact the auctioneer obtain the legal pack , have it scrutinised and duly tender. This is not something feasible for small business owners such as ourselves and are surprised that this is the optimal scenario in proceeding with such a significant sale. For all the above reasons we are requesting that there is a delay in the tender deadline of 4-6 weeks to allow our queries above to be answered and enable if possible for a formal submission to be made by the business owners in the park for the purchase of our fee farm grants, roads lights sewers etc”.

The correspondence also warned of “misleading” advertising which failed to highlight to “any potential purchaser on the potential liability being undertaken in relation to the management of the underlying business park. Some of our member had seen the advertisement but were totally unaware that the roads and services currently provided to them by Shannon Properties would be transferred in tandem with the sale of the site. Furthermore we also as owners have reservations on the long term viability of the site if the grants/rights are sold to a third party entity without proper consultation with all affected parties onsite. We have concerns that owners such as ourselves may become disenfranchised with any potential purchaser imposed without a fair and equitable opportunity for others to tender. We note the arrears to date are inclusive of the reimbursement that took place over the last twelve months which puts a more positive aspect on the overall outstanding amounts than might have been exhibited 18 months ago”.

A spokesperson for Shannon Airport Group confirmed to The Clare Echo its intention to sell the site and the management of the estate services and infrastructure at Quin Road Business Park in Ennis. “It is envisaged that the sale of the site will stimulate further growth at the business park. The sale was advertised on the open market on local and national property websites on October 12th, initially for the standard four weeks. To ensure optimal reach, the period for interested parties to respond to the advertisement has now been extended for an additional five-week period, to Wednesday 14th December. The Shannon Airport Group is currently responsible for the management and maintenance of services at the Quin Road Business Park in Ennis including public lighting, footpaths, and roads. It does not own or lease any buildings in the park, these are owned privately”.

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