FERMOY SHIPTON PROPOSALS STILL STANDING
It’s a great story - in the midst of the severest recession in years, a man comes to town with €100m to spend, he’s told to beat it by the authorities, he comes back - OK so there’s a nought knocked off the €100 million - asks for another go, the people’s representatives go into conclave, what will they decide?
The white knight in question is Clayton Love – the man with the Midas touch and, it seems, an unrequited love of Fermoy. In a nutshell that’s the story to date of the millionaire and his plans to develop the town’s old livestock mart.
The Shipton Group development proposals are a key component in the Fermoy Development Plan which is essentially a plan of campaign for the next number of years. It was up for debate at last Tuesday night’s meeting in Fermoy Town Hall – the good news is that the plan and Shipton Group proposals are still standing, but only just.
After 3 hours and 10 minutes of poring over each word, never mind sentences, the plan was kicked to touch with a pledge that it be revisited before next Tuesday’s (November 17) cut off point.
All 9 elected councillors were present: Mayor Noel McCarthy, Cllr Olive Corcoran, Cllr Colette Dolan-Moore, Cllr M. J. Hanley, Cllr Aileen D. Pyne, Cllr John Murphy, Cllr Seamus Coleman, Cllr Patrick O’Driscoll and Cllr Tadhg O’Donovan. None of the politicians were hostile to the Shipton plan, but there was no consensus about how it should proceed.
The detail was forensic – the impact of the flood plan on the development, the route taken by a road that would serve the development, parking arrangements, access, positioning of the anchor tenant, the composition of the retail component, under ground or over ground parking, pedestrian concerns, consideration for cyclists, there was even a section on the habitat of the red squirrel (the development will not impact on this threatened species).
The greenest (experience wise) of the councillors, Colette Dolan-Moore made one of the most perceptive statements of the evening when she said “we should be glad that the Shipton Group have come back.”
Mayor McCarthy said “there should be an open arms welcome for Clayton Love and his organisation”, Cllr Murphy said “something was badly needed to stop the outflow of shoppers to shopping malls in Cork city” while Olive Corcoran was willing to go along with the recommendations of the Town Manager, Tom Stritch.
Cllr O’Driscoll advocated a series of staged developments where all options, commercial, retail, residential, social and cultural could be accommodated. Cllr Michael Hanley said the development plan was of critical importance to the town and pointed out that Clayton Love wasn’t the only developer interested in the town.
Cllr Aileen Pyne said the stakes were exceptionally high and that every effort should be made to formulate a plan that was right for Fermoy. Construction worker, Cllr Seamus Coleman, had some reservations about technical aspects of the Shipton plan but broadly welcomed it. Cllr Tadhg O’Donovan said Clayton Love should be backed 100%.
Between here and next Tuesday the development plan will be tweaked, fine tuned, touched up, added to, subtracted from and slightly repackaged.
With the town’s economic heart just about beating and a moneybags developer waiting in the wings it will in all probability be passed and rubber stamped by the town’s local representatives in advance of this deadline.
Thursday 12th November 6:38pm