A SECOND ‘big dig’ is to commence in the county town as part of excavation works for the Ennis 2040 strategy.
Ground investigations will begin at Harvey’s Quay on Monday after a road opening licence was granted by Clare County Council.
Such works are already ongoing on Abbey Street car park with the commencement of the ‘big dig’ met with backlash from local retailers and Save Ennis Town, but will finish two weeks ahead of schedule.
Lymar Contracts from Lissycasey supported by TVAS (Ireland) Ltd Archaeology (TVAS) and Ground Investigations Ireland (GII) will start work at Harvey’s Quay next week.
Harvey’s Quay is one of nine strategic sites identified as potential opportunity sites set out within the Ennis 2040 Economic & Spatial Strategy.
Although the development at Harvey’s Quay is not imminent, a spokesperson for Ennnis 2040 DAC said it was “keen to minimise the impact on the town and maximise efficiencies by using the contractors and their equipment while they are already on site at Abbey Street Car Park”. The work will also assist in the design of any future pedestrian bridges across the River Fergus and Post Office field.
With a shorter and tighter programme of work than that required at Abbey Street, the investigations are scheduled to be completed before the busy Christmas shopping period and outside of the public realm development works planned by Clare County Council.
As part of these ground investigation works, a number of spaces at the taxi rank will be temporarily displaced during the day. However, these will be reinstated outside of working hours.
Findings from these excavations will inform the design process of a landmark building and the provision of services across the broader development site. A comprehensive archaeological impact assessment will accompany a future planning application, containing a set of recommendations aimed at mitigating any disruption to archaeological deposits.
Speaking to The Clare Echo, Cllr Johnny Flynn (FG) warned of potential flood risks should the planned developments for the car parks in Abbey Street and Parnell Street proceed. “Parnell Street now know that Ennis 2040 is happening now in 2023. I made a submission during the making of the County Development Plan objecting to the zoning proposals from Ennis 2040 for both Abbey Street and Parnell Street car parks. The Chief Executive in his report on submissions did not agree with my objection. The Office of Public Works lodged a submission objecting to any proposed development in the area of Parnell Street car park where flood protection attenuation tanks, pumps and electrical equipment, are located close to the rear off AIB bank.
“I object to this development on scare car parking in Parnell Street car park and to the removal of the taxi rank that took a decade to get agreement to relocate it there to Parnell Street car park. The taxi rank cost a significant amount of public money to design and construct. If Ennis 2040 proceed with their plans for multi-storey residential apartment development the taxi rank will be removed with no known plans for its relocation in another town centre location. Both Abbey Street and Parnell street car parks are located in flood zones which means if the flood defences are breached the area will flood. I understand that even in flood defence protected areas that residential development is not permitted due to potential risk of residents,” Cllr Flynn added.
Established as a wholly owned special purpose vehicle of Clare County Council, Ennis 2040 D.A.C. is developing key strategic sites for the purposes of enhanced employment, enterprise, investment and economic progress. It aspires to grow the population of Ennis on average by 1.6% per annum and deliver an additional 5,000 jobs by 2040.
Responding to Cllr Flynn’s comments, a spokesperson for Ennis 2040 DAC told The Clare Echo, “Any proposed development on Harvey’s Quay will not interfere, touch or build on any flood protection infrastructure now or in the future. Addressing the housing crisis through the provision of high-quality town centre housing is a priority for Clare County Council and the Irish Government. The Taxi rank is to remain operational at the site for foreseeable future and an alternative location will be found when required”.