Full planning permission for Limerick's Colbert Station €16.8 million redevelopment a welcome boost

Phase One of works expected to get underway in Quarter 1 2015

Colbert StationBus Éireann and Iarnród Éireann have welcomed the granting of full planning permission for a major redevelopment of Colbert Station in Limerick city.  The station is the main hub for bus and rail services in the city, and the ambitious project – which will see a large new public plaza and the relocation of the bus station to the Northern side of the historic building – can now commence in the coming months.

Colbert StationLimerick City and County Council recently granted full planning permission to the project, after a four week window during which there were no appeals to the plans. Tenders are currently being reviewed for phase one of the scheme and these will be awarded in the coming weeks. This includes the development of a new public plaza, taxi rank and car set down area at the front of the station, which will serve as a civic area for the city.  The new plaza consists of a limestone paved area of 3,350 sqm  together with feature lighting, landscaping, bench seating, bicycle parking and associated street furniture and fitting.  

This will replace the current car-park and disused fuel station on site.  A new ramped and stepped entrance to the bus station will also be put in place. There will be parking for 326 cars and 264 bicycles. Funding for this phase has already been secured, and it is now anticipated that these works will begin in the first quarter of 2015. 

Plans for phase two include the demolition of the train station’s toilet block to make way for a new bus station, with the current bus bays being converted into the access area for a new 235-space car park. The proposed new bus stations consists of a double height public concourse with ground and first floor offices. New offices are also planned for both bus and rail ticket sales, along with new shared toilet facilities. Phase Three of the proposed redevelopment would see a change to the interior of the train station with the opening of the area to three central bays, that would include repositioned retail units and new stone flooring. Associated renovations would also include improved links to the proposed southern side car park and proposed new bus station. The total cost of the project – which will be phased in line with funding availability – has been estimated at €16.9 million.

Colbert Station has approximately 2,500 rail passengers a day travelling on four rail routes, while Bus Éireann services approximately one million passengers a year, with 125 buses departing each day. The redevelopment of the station over the new few years would allow for extra capacity on these services, if required. 

Welcoming the planning permission announcement, Miriam Flynn, Regional Manager, Southwest, Bus Éireann said: “This is really good news for our customers and a great start to 2015. The project will see the development of the current station into a modern and progressive public transport interchange, which will benefit all users of public transport in the Southwest region. We look forward to the commencement of works in the near future.”

Iarnród Éireann District Manager Noreen Clohessy said “following growth in rail and bus passenger numbers in Limerick and nationally during 2014, enhancing our customer facilities and planning for further growth is essential to make public transport as attractive as possible.  Our stations are the start and end point for rail and bus customers alike, and we are delighted with the granting of planning permission and the opportunities it provides.”

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe said that the of redevelopment of Colbert Station will have a “massive impact” on the thousands of commuters who pass through it every day. 

“The provision of €2.5 million from my Department - for phase one of the redevelopment - through the Regional Cities Funding Allocation for 2015, will allow for the design and planning of refurbishments and enhancements at Colbert Station. These will include revisions to the station layout and forecourt integration with other on-street improvement works, and the refurbishment of the interior of the rail station. In our attempts to encourage greater use of public transport - which will allow people to leave the car at home, reduce congestion and ultimately allow for enhanced economic growth - we must make sure that our bus and rail stations are comfortable and attractive places to be. The granting of full planning permission will now see the redevelopment of what is already a major transport hub, begin. The creation of a civic area, in the form of a newly designed public plaza, and repositioned retail units, the new station - when complete - will act as an even bigger draw, not only for commuters but also for the wider community.”

Phase One of the redevelopment, prepared by Iarnród Éireann in collaboration with Bus Éireann, Limerick City & County Council and the National Transport Authority, will be funded through the Regional Cities programme of the Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport.

Tuesday, 13th January, 2015