Work has begun developing the blueprint for future retail development across Ireland’s Mid West taking into consideration the medium and long term impacts of Covid-19.
Limerick City and County Council and Clare County Council are seeking consultants to prepare a retail strategy that would cover three geographic areas; Limerick Shannon Metropolitan Area; County Limerick; and County Clare.
The purpose of the strategy is to provide a framework for guiding the development of a competitive retail sector within Limerick and Clare and help inform future developments plans.
Household and shopper surveys, pedestrian counts and analysis of shopping patterns will all form part of the contract.
In relation to Limerick, a previous retail strategy highlighted that the city centre fell behind other Irish cities and no longer performed to its ‘Tier 1 Status’ in the shopping hierarchy and that too much trade was lost to suburban locations.
The new strategy will aim to reposition Limerick’s city centre at the top of the retail hierarchy by improving the range and quality of shopping on offer, enhanced customer experience of visiting the city centre.
The tender documents note the impact of Covid-19 has had on the economy and the possible future impact it will have on the retail sector.
"There is no doubt that there have been significant changes in the retail sector and economic climate since the completion of the Mid – West Retail Strategy in December 2009,” the documents state.
"The proposed Strategy should reflect the changing environment for retail development and have regard to the current crisis that faces the retail sector, in terms of Covid 19 (Corona Virus). The Strategy shall consider the impacts of the virus in the short/medium and long terms and address a recovery Strategy for the Limerick – Shannon Metropolitan Area.
For County Limerick, the strategy will review how towns like Newcastle West compete with other centres such as Tralee, Killarney, Tralee, Nenagh and Ennis.
For County Clare, a review will take place on how Ennis compares with other competing centres such as Wexford, Carlow, Clonmel and Tralee.
Separately, tender documents have also been issued by Limerick City and County Council to develop a building heights strategy in anticipation of future population growth.
The document will set out an approach to building height that can support the preservation and enhancement of the city’s character while also providing clarity on the appropriate scale and massing of buildings.