In 2016, the North Quays in Waterford was the subject of a Strategic Development Zone (SDZ) order made by the Government, recognising the social and economic importance of the site to the State, and designating the Waterford North Quays for mixed-use development, subject to preparation of an SDZ planning scheme, which has since been completed.
The National Planning Framework (NPF), launched in February 2018 as part of Project Ireland 2040, includes objectives to achieve more compact urban growth within Ireland’s cities, including the significant further development of Waterford City. Further to the NPF, a ten-year Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF) was established with investment of €2bn available to 2027.
In 2018, bids were invited from public bodies for funding support from the URDF. On 26 November 2018, I announced initial support of €100m in provisional allocations to a total of 88 projects throughout the country under the first call for proposals. As part of this first tranche of approvals, the Waterford North Quays Project was allocated initial URDF support of €6m.
A large and complex integrated urban project, the Waterford North Quays proposal includes very significant high cost capital elements. Under the first URDF call for proposals, the Council submitted a bid for URDF funding which included four very significant elements:
1. Relocation of the City’s railway station to the east to form a new public transport interchange;
2. A new pedestrian/cyclist/public transport bridge and associated urban greenway;
3. Site access roads and road realignment;
4. Off-site roads in the wider north bank of the Suir area in Waterford/Kilkenny.
It is intended that the infrastructural works involved will open up the North Quays site, making it more accessible and supporting the achievement of the objectives of the SDZ planning scheme more generally.
This project is still in the early stages of its development. The overall project is one of the more complex URDF proposals and so it is essential that careful consideration be given to the design, planning, sequencing, procurement and construction of its various components, including the proposed relocation of the railway station.
While I have agreed in principle to further URDF support in respect of the overall North Quays project, its proposed composition, costs and sequencing must be further refined so that the precise level of URDF support can be established, and apportioned to the various individual project components.
While the advancement of this project is, in the first instance, a matter for Waterford City & County Council, my Department is engaging actively with the Council with a view to early resolution of these matters.