The Shannon Town Centre Masterplan, funded by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage under the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF) and Project Ireland 2040 sets out a clear strategic framework for the renewed development of Shannon Town Centre, providing for a shared vision for its future development.
The purpose of the Masterplan is to guide the development of Shannon Town Centre into the future, delivering real change to make Shannon Town a more attractive destination in which to live, work and do business unlocking development potential in Shannon Town Centre and guiding its built and economic development.
Among the proposals set out in the draft Masterplan is the creation of an Innovation Campus in the town centre, the creation of a New Main and an improved Town Square, and the development of a ‘One Shannon Hub’ which will have multiple daytime and night-time uses including new Local Authority offices, a Community theatre space, and an enhanced public realm.
The Masterplan makes provision for a range of high-quality urban town centre living areas, enhancement of connections to the estuary and preservation and enhancement of the amenity of the Town Park, as well as an implementation roadmap for the delivery of the plan.
Brian McCarthy, Senior Planner, Clare County Council, explained some of the key Masterplan proposals. “The Masterplan proposes a multi-dimensional approach to the further development and enhancement of our town centre through proposals for retail, commercial, residential and civic amenities. Building on the history of innovation and training in Shannon, the creation of an innovation Campus in the town centre is a unique proposition for any town centre creating the potential for 1,000 employees and 1,500 students providing vitality and life with activity during the day and evenings.
Having a large quantity of students and future workers within the town centre Innovation Campus will be a huge boost for supporting the social, educational and economic development of Shannon Town. Shannon has always had a history of innovation at a range of locations from the airport to free zones, and this area identified in the town centre will continue that innovation, merging the needs of industry and enterprise with further education and apprenticeship training on a town centre campus.”
“It is envisaged that the improved Main Street will be an innovative take on the traditional main street of Irish towns and will contribute to a sense of place for Shannon. It is proposed to improve and make the existing R471 road passing through Shannon Town Centre more pedestrian friendly while also continuing to provide for car and bus routes.
“The enhanced Shannon Town Square will underpin a new identity for the town centre as a focal point for the community and will expand on the existing square with its chapel and will be fronted by the proposed One Shannon Hub.”
“One Shannon Hub will be a multi-purpose civic, theatre and community space with multiple uses to ensure activity throughout the day and night. It is proposed to create a civic building which will combine as a new Clare County Council town hall, a performing arts venue, and a flexible working and innovation space. This three-in-one approach will merge community, cultural and civic uses, with Council offices relocated to the heart of the town reinforcing the commitment by the local authority for a town centre presence.
Taken together with the proposed Innovation Campus in the town centre, these projects will provide a significant opportunity to create a vibrant Shannon Town Centre. The Masterplan has been adopted at the start of 2022 at time of opportunity in advance of the Government’s impending Town Centres First Policy and a number of anticipated funding calls which Clare County Council in collaboration with other stakeholders will seek to successfully obtain.”
Cllr PJ Ryan, Cathaoirleach, Clare County Council, complimented the residents of Shannon and surrounding areas for their participation in the planning process saying:
“The positive engagement from members of the public, stakeholders, residents and business groups has guided and informed the development of this Shannon Town Centre Masterplan to result in a positive and proactive document reflecting the combined vision for all stakeholders of Shannon.
I welcome the statement of intent by Clare County Council to build new civic offices that would provide community services so that there will be a local authority civic presence in the town centre, therefore providing a building for all civic needs of the people. Moreover the provision of an innovation campus signals an intent that the history of innovation in Shannon should be harnessed and merged with the ongoing need for high quality training and further education at a prominent town centre location. ”
Cllr John Crowe, Cathaoirleach, Shannon Municipal District, said: “Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the Masterplan throughout the process. As County Clare’s second-largest town, located in proximity to strategic national and international infrastructure, there is tremendous potential for future development in Shannon Town. We have a wonderful community in Shannon. The proposals in this Masterplan if realised will enhance and reinforce the sense of place in the town. The availability of a high quality Masterplan which has been subject to an economic viability assessment provides a great framework to leverage public and private investment in particular future URDF investment”
Helen Downes, CEO, Shannon Chamber, thanked Clare County Council for its engagement with the business community in Shannon to date: “I welcome the level of consultation between Clare County Council, Shannon Chamber and the business community in Shannon on this Masterplan. The plan creates opportunities for future economic development in Shannon. Importantly the plan provides for a clear implementation Strategy from the local authority and Shannon Chamber looks forward to playing its role in the plan’s implementation and supporting the Council as it progresses and enables the developments required to turn the vision into action.”
The Masterplan was unanimously endorsed by the Elected Members of Shannon Municipal District at a meeting on Tuesday, 18th January 2022.