A major urban renewal project, described as a “game-changer” which will bear comparison with any European city, was approved for Waterford on Thursday night by members of the city and county council and work is expected to begin in the coming months on the three-year revamp.
Public transport will be centred on Arundel Square and the historic Apple Market will be transformed with a glass and mirrored stainless steel roof covering a daytime market and night-time entertainment site.
There will also be smaller plaza spaces created at St Francis Place, Lady Lane, and John St. Colbeck St and John St will be designated gateways to the city centre.
The council said high-quality paving will be of “a consistent palette of Irish limestone and light-coloured Spanish granite”, while kerbs and clutter will be addressed to improve access for people with disabilities.
A smartly-designed lighting scheme will further enhance the attractiveness and sense of safety of the streets.
Pedestrians will be given increased priority and traffic reduced within the core city centre. The needs of residents, businesses, public transport providers, and the emergency services have all been taken into account during the planning phase.
These will be accommodated with enhanced streetscapes, shared surfaces, and turning circles. Delivery times are also to be decided for city centre premises and secure off-street parking will be provided on the periphery within easy walking distance of the core city area.
Announcing the project, to be delivered with a combination of council resources and funding from the Government and the European Regional Development Fund, mayor of Waterford James Tobin commended the multi-disciplinary Waterford-led design team.
“This major investment in the city centre has tremendous potential to further boost Waterford’s attractiveness to visitors and locals alike,” he said.
“It’s vital that Waterford City has a strong core and the more attractive city centre will have positive economic as well as social benefits. We have already seen what’s possible in the tremendous work done in our Viking Triangle so I am very excited by this next phase that will better connect the different parts of the city centre.”
Council CEO Michael Walsh said the urban renewal will be “a real game-changer” and its quality “will stand up to comparison with any European city”.
Senior council architect Rupert Maddock said the “high-quality, accessible public realm” will make Waterford “Ireland’s most people-centred city”.