The news that Waterford city and county council is to terminate its contract with Falcon Real Estate Development is regrettable but will not stop the North Quays project proceeding according to Waterford Fine Gael Senator John Cummins.
Speaking following Waterford Council CEO Michael Walsh’s briefing to local councillors today (17/5/21), Senator Cummins said “Waterford city and county council are fully committed to realising its vision for the North Quays which was set out in the adopted SDZ planning scheme in 2018. The government remains fully committed to this project, as evidenced by the unprecedented €110.6 million which has been earmarked to unlock the sites potential. I am confident that a transformative regeneration scheme can be delivered on this prime waterfront site and I understand the council will be going back out to the marketplace in the coming weeks to source alternative development partners”.
Senator Cummins who has been to the forefront of promoting the project from the outset said “Waterford city has a huge future ahead of itself and we need to start believing in ourselves. While I understand that some may feel the last few years have been wasted, that is absolutely not the case. The reality is much of that time has been spent assembling the site and resolving title which is only recently in full ownership of Waterford council and this is now an exceptionally valuable asset for our city. A full SDZ planning scheme has been adopted, meaning any adjustments to the existing permission will not result in significant delays or appeals. Many of the environmental concerns have been addressed and most significantly there is a commitment to a transformative public investment to unlock the site, including a new bridge, roads, interchanges and the relocation of the train station”.
He added “It has always been frustrating that the public couldn’t see the enormous workload that has been ongoing by all partners to the project, especially Waterford city and county council, over the past few years. Fortunately, that diligence and depth of planning to date will be of huge benefit to the project moving forward”.
Senator Cummins said “I am aware that Waterford city and county council have been carrying out a re-appraisal of the scheme to reflect the changing environment post covid. In doing so they have been engaging with the Irish Strategic Investment Fund to work out a mechanism to progress elements of the project such as the podium and pilling which is a prerequisite for any development that will take place on the site”.
He concluded by saying “While this news is a setback, it does not mean this project can’t proceed, in truth a re-appraisal of the previous scheme was likely on the cards post covid, so this may in fact mean a more robust scheme can be put in place which preserves the vision and scale contained in the SDZ. The Waterford North Quays is a flagship project for the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund and will be key to accelerating the growth of Waterford in line with the targets set down in Project Ireland 2040. I have every confidence in the team at Waterford city and county council to deliver this transformative project for Waterford and the South East.