Sunday, 22nd October 2017
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Deputy Mayor of Waterford Cllr. John Cummins has described the draft planning scheme for the North Quay’s Strategic Development Zone (SDZ) as hugely exciting. The presentation of the draft planning scheme marks a critical point in the realisation of one of the largest regional regeneration projects in Ireland with an estimated cost of over half a billion euro.

The document is extremely comprehensive and sets out Waterford City & County Council’s vision for the 8.23 hectare site in the heart of Waterford City. Negotiations with Saudi based Al Hokair Group have advanced significantly over the last number of months and the company recently presented officials with their masterplan for the site which has been taken into account in the preparation of the draft planning scheme, which is expected to go on public display on the 13th October 2017 for a period of 6 weeks.

Commenting on the plan Cllr. Cummins said "I encourage the people of Waterford to engage in the public consultation when it commences. This SDZ has the potential to shape our city for generations to come and it is imperative that we get it right from the outset. This draft is the culmination of months of hard work by council officials and staff and I would like to commend them on their work to date. Government support to the tune of €61.5 million is required to facilitate this development and I am confident from my discussions with the Taoiseach that this will be forthcoming in the Capital Plan. Given the scale of private sector investment on the table, it is a no brainer."

The draft planning scheme envisages the height of the North Quays being raised by approximately 6 meters, which will facilitate underground car-parking for 1600-2000 vehicles with a maximum provision of 38,000 sq/m of gross retail space, 30,000 sq/m of offices, 11,500 sq/m of beverage/leisure facilities, 15,000 sq/m hotel/events centre, 15,000 sq/m tourism/community facilities and 300 residential units above the car park. This will be connected via a bridge to the Clock Tower which will be capable of supporting a public transport vehicle to run between the North Quays and the Michael Street Shopping Centre (10,000 sq/m) which Al Hokair have also committed to building. Construction of new road links on to the site off the Dock road and the Abbey road are also mentioned within the plan, though outside the actual perimeter of the SDZ. Maximum permitted heights of 50 meters will be allowed on the eastern and western side of the site with 35 meters in the centre, however a provision to allow landmark buildings of up to a height of 60 meters will be considered."

Cllr. Cummins said "My vision for Waterford has always been; to make it the best place in Ireland to live, visit, work or do business in and over the last number of years we have made huge strides in advancing our city and county’s tourism offer with the development of the Viking Triangle and our amazing greenway. Work is progressing well on our €16m urban renewal scheme and this SDZ gives us a once in a century opportunity to add significant new retail, office, residential and hotel developments that will transform our city, enabling us to compete on an equal footing with our peer cities of Cork, Limerick and Galway"

The Deputy Mayor concluded by saying "the positivity this development has generated in our city is enormous, when I walk the streets of the city and meet business owners their sense of optimism is palpable – it cannot happen quick enough as far as I am concerned. No longer should we put a ceiling on our city’s ambition, this development will enable us to become a destination city.

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