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Land Development Agency launches plans for Colbert Station Quarter 

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Colbert Station Quarter plans – Pictured at Colbert Station for today’s announcement are from left, Dearbhla Lawson, head of strategic planning, LDA, Lorcan O’Connor, Group CEO of CIE, Darragh O’Brien TD, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, John Coleman, CEO of the Land Development Agency, Jim Meade, CEO, Iarnród Éireann, and Rose Kenny, director of operations, LDA. Picture: Diarmuid Greene

Land Development Agency launches plans for Colbert Station Quarter 

Colbert Station Quarter Plans

Pictured at Colbert Station for today’s announcement are John Coleman, CEO of the Land Development Agency, left, and Darragh O’Brien TD, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage. Picture: Diarmuid Greene

The Land Development Agency (LDA) has today launched a public consultation on plans for a major urban development and rejuvenation project in the heart of Limerick City.  The Colbert Station Quarter Plans project will transform this part of Limerick city, incorporating new urban districts to be developed over time delivering potentially 2,800 homes in addition to commercial space, public spaces alongside sustainable transport options.   

The development of this draft spatial framework demonstrates the potential to transform state lands to deliver much needed affordable housing and supporting development. This supports the Government’s Housing for All Strategy, included commitments to transfer State land to the LDA that is capable of delivering 10-15,000 homes on top of the LDA’s existing pipeline. This will be the largest ever transfer of State land for housing and includes major strategic sites in Limerick’s Colbert Station, including lands owned by CIE, HSE. The transfer of state lands to the LDA for Colbert Station Quarter supports the aims to transform parts of the underutilised public lands in the area to deliver mixed tenure homes, including affordable and social homes.

An early priority with potential for housing development by the LDA is on part of the HSE lands to the rear of St. Joseph’s which has been identified for transfer under the Housing for All Strategy.  Subject to the public consultation and ongoing engagement with HSE, these lands are ideally positioned for development of mixed tenure housing, including affordable and social housing in the coming few years.  

The Colbert Quarter is of strategic importance to Limerick City, and the Draft Spatial Framework sets out how the overall scheme could evolve. This Draft Framework was developed by the LDA working with Limerick City and County Council, CIE and HSE. It represents a blueprint for the potential transformation of this significant area of Limerick City over time.  The Draft Framework which is also accompanied by a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Environmental Report, an Appropriate Assessment (AA) Natura Impact Report and a Strategic Flood Risk Assessment is now open for public consultation until 11 November 2021.

The Colbert Station Quarter, an area in the heart of Limerick City made up almost entirely of state-owned land, offers the potential to truly transform underutilised brownfield areas into a vibrant, liveable, mixed use and compact urban quarter which will be driven by affordable housing. It provides for transport orientated development and seeks to achieve a vibrant mix of homes, landmark buildings, unique pedestrian and cycling infrastructure, employment space and new parks and play areas. There will also be enhanced facilities for health, education and other key services. 

This is all proposed to be set within a highly connected series of parklands and open space with enhanced green areas and a new high quality public realm with a network of links and proposals for a new community-focussed sporting and recreational hub with enhanced opportunities for recreational activities. 

Exciting features of the plan include a proposed new raised pedestrian walkway, cycleway and public realm space: ‘The Limerick Link’. This proposed elevated walkway provides an opportunity to safely connect schools to new recreational areas south of the station while also connecting the various neighbourhoods together in a sustainable pedestrian/cycle friendly way. The Limerick Link has the potential to be a landmark feature, connecting the Colbert area, to the wider City and beyond.

Darragh O’Brien TD, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage said, “I am delighted that just weeks after the launch of the most significant housing strategy in the history of the State, that we see immediate progress from one of the key actors in that Plan – the Land Development Agency.  The Housing for All Plan outlines plans for the activation of underused public lands to deliver much needed homes.  The Land Development Agency will not just develop land banks and build homes, it will also create sustainable communities and drive transformational change. Today’s announcement is a perfect example of the kind of partnership which lies at the heart of the LDA approach.  I would like to congratulate Limerick City and County Council and the HSE and CIE for their effort and dedication to this approach.”  

John Coleman, CEO of the Land Development Agency said, “The LDA’s objective is to ensure the delivery of housing and supporting development on underused state land.  While many of our projects are based on significant but single scheme infill sites, the LDA’s other main objective is to create partnerships to unlock larger, strategic areas, which can truly transform a city.  Colbert Station Quarter has the potential to deliver up to 2,800 homes in the heart of Limerick to create an attractive and sustainable focal point for future development.  This is a key part of the vision for the LDA outlined in the recently published Housing for All strategy, which highlights major additional lands to be driven forward by the LDA, including those at Colbert.   

We would like to thank our partners in Limerick City and County Council, CIE and HSE who have engaged and supported the process of exploring the potential for the Colbert Station Quarter from the outset and with whom we look forward to continuing to engage with as we move towards the delivery of the vision outlined in the Draft Spatial Framework.” 

Pat Daly, Chief Executive of Limerick City and County Council said, “The publication of this Draft Framework is a key step in creating a new and exciting development in the heart of Limerick City.  This development will not only provide much needed sustainable housing, it can also serve as a magnet for economic development in our city.  Locating homes and commercial opportunities in the heart of the city will also support a more sustainable city, reducing reliance on private transport.” 

The eight new districts to be created and integrated with the existing community are – provisionally named, Station District, Sexton District, Roxboro District, Ballysimon District, Carey’s District, Calidonian District, Kennedy District and Janesboro District – each have their own distinct character.  The Draft Spatial Framework builds on the existing strengths and characteristics of each area and helps to emphasise them while also delivering new uses and opportunities.  

The Draft Spatial Framework is published today and will be open for consultation between now and 11 November. Members of the public can access the information on a dedicated website HERE or via a link from the Land Development Agency website HERE. A copy of the Colbert Station Quarter Plans document will also be available in Limerick City and County Council offices at Merchants Quay, Limerick and Dooradoyle. The LDA is seeking the views of local stakeholders on the vision for the area.  This phase of consultation will run from 16 September to 11 November. 

Following this, comments and submissions will be collated and considered and will help to inform the finalisation of the Spatial Framework which will then be published. The Framework will be used as a basis to inform more detailed proposals and planning applications, particularly related to state lands which are being transferred to the LDA. The aim is to catalyse and unlock the potential and progress delivery of a new sustainable and mixed-use vibrant quarter for this strategically significant gateway to Limerick.

For additional information on the LDA in relation to the Government’s Housing for All strategy, please see go HERE 

Land Development Agency

The Land Development Agency (LDA) was created in September 2018 with the purpose of opening up state owned land for development. The Government has committed to capitalising it with €1.25 billion following enactment of its grounding legislation. The LDA has a national focus and is currently active on sites that will deliver around 6,000 homes. 

About the proposed Districts within Colbert Quarter Plans

Station District: Develop as a pivotal destination with landmark offices, commercial buildings, civic uses and hotel close to the Colbert Station sustainable travel hub with opportunities for investment and job creation as well as incorporating a new Limerick Link – a raised cycle and pedestrian route leading to the HSE lands to the east and to the southern districts, providing safe and secure mobility options across the site connecting Colbert Station with the various districts, over and under the railway line, alongside buildings and through proposed green lungs. Buildings along the railway help to frame the gateway into Limerick.

Sexton District: The Sexton District’s character builds upon the existing education uses, including schools such as Coláiste Mhichíl – CBS Sexton Street, St. Augustine’s Special School and Scoil Iosagain, allowing for expansion and infill to suit future demands. Existing education facilities retained and enhanced, consolidation and potential for higher education, student accommodation and offices and amenities Other proposed uses could include higher education, student homes and workplaces, together with high quality public realm. 

Roxboro District: Opportunity for commercial research / office space with links to HSE facilities to the north and new healthcare facilities to the east. New intergenerational living, later living and key worker accommodation with supporting community infrastructure.

Ballysimon District: New healthcare facilities to tie into the existing uses and meet identified HSE needs. Consolidation of storage/existing facilities and potential for flexible parking solutions as the area evolves over time.

Carey’s District: New residential neighbourhood (mixed tenure and sizes) with greenways and key pedestrian cycle links and supporting local amenities at ground floor. Integrating infrastructure to enable proposed Foynes Line and enhancement of existing landscape features to tie into the SUDs systems and to provide nature trails and access to open space/biodiversity.

Caledonian District: Predominantly new residential use area with greenways and key pedestrian and cycle links- new energy centre and community uses, provision of a new Central Park offering opportunities to play/grow/relax – Education, nursery and play space.

Kennedy District: is currently an operational bus depot and subject to further study. Should the area be considered for development at a point in the future it has the potential to provide uses that complement the current use, such as light industry, leisure and community as well as other employment opportunities. 

Janesboro District:  A key focus on recreation and wellbeing with consolidated sports grounds pitches to support multiple sports uses, greenways and key pedestrian/cycle links. Potential new all-weather pitches and league pitch/stadium.

For more information on the LDA and the Colbert Station Quarter Plans, please see HERE 

For more stories on Colbert Station, please see HERE

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the ilovelimerick.com concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.

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