Author: Stephen Corrigan
~ 3 minutes read
A multi-million euro redevelopment of The Shambles car park in Tuam has been given the backing of local councillors.
The scheme, which is set to deliver a covered market space while maintaining the town centre parking spaces outside market times, was described as “extremely exciting” by area representatives.
Up to 22 market pitches will be available on market days while the overhead canopy will also serve as an outdoor event space allowing for year-round events, according to the project’s consultants.
Councillors were told that Milestone Inventive, the events management company behind Galway City Christmas Market, were tasked with creating a business case for Vicar Street development – a community survey found that 65% would visit the market weekly.
Architect Brent Mostert said the findings also pointed towards a major economic boost for the town, including a 27% increase in footfall and an estimate that for every €1 spent in the market, an additional €2 would be spent in local retail and hospitality.
The regeneration project, he said, would serve as a guide for similar projects nationally with sustainable materials intrinsic to its development.
“This will be a pilot project to run ‘green procurement’,” he added.
Proposing the development, Cllr Steven McHugh (Ind) said the new market represented a “great opportunity for Tuam”.
“My father and grandfather stood there 50 years ago selling calves, so it’s great to see it return to its history of trade,” he said of The Shambles.
Cathaoirleach of the Tuam Municipal District, Cllr Donagh Killilea (FF), seconded the Part 8 planning application and said it was imperative that the project was funded, proposing a motion that all local representatives would apply pressure on ministers, TDs and senators to secure the necessary government funding.
“I know from talking to community groups in Tuam that there is a need and a want for trading space in Tuam.
“It is important we do have street traders and this will bring back a lot of traders,” he said.
“It is okay for us to pass this Part 8 [planning application] but it’s no good without funding. I propose that all of us make representations to TDs and the Departments to get funding for this and for the [regeneration of] the Town Hall,” added the Fianna Fáil councillor.
Cllr Peter Roche (FG) seconded this proposal and remarked that The Shambles regeneration team had come up with an exciting design for the area.
Cllr Andrew Reddington (FG) said he was “delighted to see” that outside market days, the area’s parking would be maintained.
Cllr Mary Hoade (FF) echoed her party colleague’s call for funding and said it was incumbent on all local representatives to push for the project’s completion. Head of the Regeneration Team, Ciarán Wynn, said the project was likely to cost in the region of €2 million and an application for the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund was due to be submitted by today (Thursday).
Once that funding was secured, a detailed design would be formed and one consideration was to include the Tuam Galway 2020 Orb, created for the county’s Capital of Culture designation in 2020.
The outline design includes for an overhead canopy which will provide shelter on market days and cover the parking spaces outside these times.
Tarmac is to be replaced by “good quality” paving, while renewable energy will power site lighting. A permanent coffee kiosk and toilet facilities are also included as part of the plans.
No timeline for delivery was provided and it was stated that specific market days would be determined as part of advanced planning for the site once funding was secured.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:
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