A feasibility study has been completed by Clare County Council looking at the potential of covering sections of Parnell Street in Ennis as well as delivering public realm enhancements in Parnell Street, High Street and O’Connell Square.
It follows consultation with local street traders and residents, was undertaken on behalf of the Local Authority by Nic de Jong & Associates Urban Design and was funded under the Rural Economic Development Zones (REDZ) initiative.
The outcome of the study is a high level masterplan containing numerous recommendations including the covering of certain areas of Parnell Street, improving pedestrian linkage to O’Connell Square, addressing vacancy and its causes, reorganising traffic flows resulting in new public space in Lower Parnell Street, developing the visual amenity and role of laneways in improving the public realm, and refurbishing Parnell Street with high quality surface finishes, lighting and new street furniture.
This masterplan, which was informed by the preparation of the Draft Clare County Development Plan 2017-2023, also focuses on the future development of O’Connell Square including a recommendation that the area be reprioritised in favour of pedestrians providing for a civic plaza in front of the monument whilst continuing to facilitate vehicular traffic.
Officials from the Economic Development Directorate of Clare County Council recently presented the findings and recommendations of the report to traders and residents of Parnell Street, High Street, Salthouse Lane and O’Connell Square area. The Local Authority says the full report will be made publicly available in the coming weeks.
Mayor of Ennis Councillor Norton has welcomed the completion of the study which she hopes “will lead to the rejuvenation of Parnell Street and surrounding area.”
“This is a very positive development for the centre of Ennis,” she said. “The report and its recommendations underline the positive progress that can be achieved when businesses, residents and the Local Authority work together. I look forward to further significant progress being made in relation to the various proposals during the coming months.”
Noreen Twomey Walsh, Secretary of the Parnell Street Traders Association has also welcomed the findings of the feasibility study. “We are delighted to see that the report includes a lot of the concerns and issues already raised by us at previous meetings, and contained a lot of our suggestions given in a detailed presentation made by us to elected representatives and Council officials in April 2016 when they visited our street”.
“We look forward to seeing some of the new proposals being implemented in the near future and we hope by working together with Clare County Council, we can put in place a successful plan that will deliver a new and vibrant Parnell Street,” she said.
Brian McCarthy, Senior Planner, Economic Development, Clare County Council, explained, “Earlier this year, Clare County Council made a commitment to local traders and residents to examine the feasibility of undertaking town improvements in certain areas around Parnell Street, particularly the linking of the Parnell Street and High Street area to the O’Connell Monument, to create an overall improved streetscape and enhanced pedestrian and town centre experience.”
“Following last week’s presentation of the study to traders and residents, the next step is to prepare the Ennis Local Area Plan in mid-2017 which will incorporate these proposals and, importantly, give them statutory effect to enable Clare County Council to obtain the necessary funding. Furthermore, the preparation of the Local Area Plan will also allow for further public consultation which is critical for the acceptability of any developments that are proposed,” stated Mr. McCarthy.