*Love Shannon members, Darragh O’Connor, Elton Good, Brendan Wall & Derek Clune at the site of what could have been The Venue. Photograph: Joe Buckley
AGREEMENT FOR A TRANSFER of the Shannon Venue site has been reached.
On Monday, the Directors of the Shannon Venue Ltd announced “that they have facilitated the transfer of their Town Centre site to Clare County Council”.
In their statement, the group detailed that a “sale has been completed” to enable the local authority to develop the One Shannon Hub, a multi-functional civic and community facility in the heart of Shannon. The hub is a key objective of the Shannon Town Masterplan.
Plans to develop the Shannon Venue were scrapped in 2018 when a voluntary group established six years earlier failed to secure necessary Government funding and instead funds were granted for a masterplan.
A 99-year lease for the site, previously held by the directors of the Shannon Venue project, has been transferred to the local authority to allow them to build the One Shannon Hub.
Derek Barrett who was a director in the project believed the Hub was “exactly what the Venue team set out to deliver on their site” and described it as “a fantastic opportunity”. “While it has taken 10 years to get to this stage, the plans for the One Shannon Hub exceed the team’s expectations. The total area will be almost twice the size of the original concept and will accommodate even more services and facilities. Most importantly, the County Council has taken ownership and is now driving the design, funding and delivery of the project,” the statement outlined.
Financial and legal advisors of the Shannon Venue Ltd will be instructed by directors to now wind down the company, he confirmed. “Once the liabilities have been settled, any remaining funds will be returned on a pro-rata basis to the donors who supported the Venue through the concept, design and planning stages”.
Speaking to The Clare Echo, Cllr Gerry Flynn (IND) was critical of the statement issued by the Directors and that they referenced a potential completion date of 2027. He flagged that the protect was initiated by Shannon councillors almost two decades ago, “the Venue people decided we weren’t up to the task and what did they do, the Government turned down in 2018 for URDF funding”. He added, “People were playing around with the site for ten years and they threw the toys out of the cot when they didn’t get funding”.
He questioned how the Venue site ended up in the property portfolio of Shannon Development and urged Shannon Commercial Properties to relinquish their ownership.
Aspects of the Masterplan can come to fruition because of the public engagement, Cllr Flynn maintained. “Last year, during the lockdown I was going around with a mask to meet members of the public to try rescue what was a very poor masterplan and we did rescue it because the people of Shannon engaged with the process”. He added, “I’ll support Clare County Council to do whatever we can do to make this the one stop shop. We have a fall back though, we have a perfectly good site where we have the depot”.