- Shannon has lost had too many false dawns
- Crying out for town centre
Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe is urging Clare County Council to engage closely with the people of Shannon town in developing a masterplan for the town’s centre.
Though it is the second-largest town in the county in terms of population, the residents have felt forgotten about for decades, with large-scale developments going on around them despite no real town centre to speak of.
Most recently, the town suffered a blow when Ennis was granted over €4 million under the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund, while Shannon – the only other town in the county to apply – missed out.
Despite this, the local authority continues to work on a masterplan for Shannon town.
“I’m asking Clare County Council to have a broad public consultation process with residents of Shannon town and also the Love Shannon Group as plans to finalise a masterplan for Shannon town centre gather momentum,” said Deputy Crowe.
“This new masterplan has the potential to be a game changer for Shannon town and it’s important that the greatest stakeholders of all – that being the body of residents – have a major say in this process before it concludes.
“Clare County Council has a very ambitious vision for Shannon and this will involve putting a heart and streetscape into the town that isn’t just solely reliant on the Skycourt Shopping Centre.
“Shannon was developed as a town in the 1960s and the decades that followed. It was built in a very linear, block pattern which lent itself to the rapid development of housing and industrial units but there was less prioritisation given to retail, commercial activity and placemaking.
“Placemaking is a jargonistic term often used by planning departments and county councils but Shannon above all epitomises the need for placemaking.
“The town is crying out for more than house after house after house, followed by a shopping centre.
“It needs more civic spaces and a streetscape and a high street so that when one goes shopping in Shannon, they get a town centre experience, with small shops, cafés and nice public spaces where people can meet and congregate.
“The last number of years have proven that public money follows plans and Shannon residents were recently hugely frustrated when they saw Ennis town receive more than €4 million in Urban Regeneration and Development Funding, whereas their town lost out.
“Having a comprehensive future plan for the centre of Shannon town will position it for plenty of funding opportunities in the years ahead.
“As a TD, but moreover as someone who represented Shannon town on Clare County Council for 10 years, I know how great a community Shannon is but the people of Shannon yearn for more and they want their town, which is the second most populous town in Clare and which is a major revenue generator for Clare County Council, to get a larger slice of the proverbial cake when funding opportunities arise.
“Shannon residents very often accuse all of the public representatives in the county of speaking only of the airport and industrial estates when speaking of Shannon.
“In many ways, their criticisms can be considered fair – there’s a lot more to Shannon than the airport and factories and now is a crucial time in terms of planning for a very positive future for our county’s second town.
“When a masterplan is in place, following hopefully plenty of consultation with the community, I look forward to lobbying for public money to follow the plan.”