Limerick City Centre Under a Magnifying Glass – Chamber Publishes it’s Blueprint for City Evolution

– Urban Gaeltacht, Bigger Bus Bays and an Urban Greening Plan
– Study recommends measures to increase attractiveness of city living, and identifies increased worker housing as the key to unlocking Limerick city centre potential

Limerick Chamber City Centre Report highlights the need for personal responsibility in report that focuses on propelling Limerick to the next stage of its evolution.

According to Limerick Chamber, the promotion of a vibrant and habitable urban centre is crucial, not only to the future of business but to the future of the city centre itself. Today, Limerick Chamber published it’s Limerick “City Centre Report”, prepared by the Chamber’s own in-house Economics and Policy unit. This report, prepared in response to continual member feedback relating to the city centre, will serve as a blueprint for Limerick Chamber’s advocacy work going forward.  

As Limerick prepares for a year of elections in 2024, with Ireland’s first Directly Elected Mayor as well as the local and European elections, the report highlights the challenges and opportunities that need to be addressed for the growth of Limerick City Centre, recognising it’s importance as the engine of the Mid-West regional economy.

Breaking down and analysing Census 2022 data with a particular focus on the city centre, the report also incorporates key findings of an extensive study of almost 500 city centre stakeholders conducted by Limerick Chamber, to arrive at a set of “implementable and practical” recommendations for making Limerick city centre more attractive.

An Urban Gaeltacht, bigger bus and delivery bays, bike bunkers and an Urban Greening plan are amongst measures recommended in the report to improve the attractiveness of Limerick for city living. 

Miriam O’Connor, President of Limerick Chamber said:

In 2021, the Chamber commissioned the Future Limerick Report, which put forward wide sweeping recommendations for Limerick, while benchmarking the city with other comparable locations. Today we build on that and go one step further and put the city centre under the magnifying glass. After evaluating the present circumstances of the city centre, we have adopted a comprehensive approach encompassing various measures. We have outlined a blueprint for achieving the sustainable growth of the city centre. This will ensure that all stakeholders will match the ambition of private sector investment that we have seen in the city centre over the last number of years. We need the report to focus on the experimental and vibrancy aspects of the city, which will encourage more people to visit, live and work in the city centre.

Dee Ryan, CEO of Limerick Chamber said:

Limerick city has the potential to undergo a remarkable but achievable transformation in the coming years, to evolve into an urban environment where a significantly greater number of people choose to live while also drawing in visitors seeking cultural, hospitality and educational, offerings. The look, feel and overall aesthetic and vibrancy of our city centre are critical in this regard.

Achieving this goal necessitates a comprehensive approach including introducing  measures outlined in the City Centre Report, such as a grant for renovating shop fronts and the proposed “Renovate Limerick” designed to make renovating a vacant home a simpler process.  

There is an immediate need for cities to concentrate on developing sustainable urban living and creating welcoming spaces that attract people in. We took a close look at specific issues in the city centre and recommended vey practical steps that could be taken to address them. One of the items that the Chamber has lobbied for is the introduction of a mobility and delivery strategy to give guidance for HGV’s delivering to the city centre, in a similar fashion to the one rolled out by Cork City Council. Another issue that came through strongly in survey responses was the need for more on-street visible policing, and we have proposed reallocating Gardaí from courts security service duty to on-street visible policing

Seán Golden, Chief Economist & Director of Policy with Limerick Chamber said:

A hugely important part of this report for us was ensuring that it had a large emphasis on data, to ensure that recommendations were not only feasible, but also based in demographics and lived experience of city centre stakeholders. I am in constant contact with our membership regarding challenges and opportunities for growth in the city centre. However, our survey allowed us to cast the net to a much wider audience and array of stakeholders and ensure that everybody’s voice was heard as part of the construction of the report. In many ways it was similar to a public consultation for the key points of the report.

A glaring issue that many cities in Ireland have to contend with, including Limerick, is the lack of a defined city or city centre boundary. As part of project Ireland 2040, there is the goal to increase urban centres by 50%, however, without a solid definition of the city centre this poses a threat for the city centre. As part of this report, we did put forward a definition of the city centre, which was corroborated by survey respondents and that is the area we took a detailed look at.

It is a data rich report, so there is scope to produce a second volume of the report in the new year focusing more on demographics and demographics mix. But for now, it is about improving the city centre experience for all stakeholders.

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