Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) President Ian Tant has recognised a ‘real determination’ to succeed in the Irish city of Limerick, despite the local council facing some serious challenges.
Ian, who was spending time in Limerick as part of a two-day official visit to Ireland, described the city as ‘characterful and historic’, and said that challenging issues were being addressed in terms of regeneration of both the city centre and outlying housing estates.
Above: RTPI President Ian Tant (second from right) visits the Gardens International site in Limerick with (l-r) David Conway of Limerick Twenty Thirty, RTPI Ireland Chair Aidan Culhane and Deirdre McGrath of Limerick Council's Urban Innovation initiative
During his visit, Ian was given a tour by officers of Limerick City and County Council’s Urban Innovation initiative exploring the work being done to regenerate the city centre and estates, including the historic Georgian neighbourhood.
He also heard about the work of Limerick Twenty Thirty (LTT), a stand-alone property development company wholly owned by Limerick City and County Council, which is delivering developments on key strategic sites across the city including Gardens International, the Opera Site and the Mungret residential scheme.
Ian said: “With a heavy focus on delivery, Limerick Twenty Thirty is producing truly high-quality mixed use developments on key sites in the city. These should provide both exemplars of what can be achieved in Limerick and an impetus to private sector investment and activity.
“New build schemes, targeted infrastructure investment and programmed demolitions are all contributing to physical enhancement but it’s the investment in community facilities, new employment opportunities and community engagement that are making the real difference.”
Limerick Twenty Thirty chief executive David Conway told Ian that planning played a vital role in supporting the initiative’s ambitions.
He said: “The aim of the Limerick Twenty Thirty DAC is to plan and develop key strategic sites in Limerick City & County so that they will act as an anchor for enterprise and investment development across Limerick. The vision of the council - to initiate an economic and spatial plan, then set up a wholly-owned special purpose company - was visionary.
“LTT have begun to deliver, as is shown with the completion of Gardens International, a LEED Gold 100,000 sq ft office building. As with all major regeneration projects, good planning advice was essential throughout the process.”