Waterford City and County Council’s North Quays strategic development zone (SDZ) planning scheme has become the first to obtain approval without being subject to an An Bord Pleanála oral hearing.

The decision marks a huge milestone for Roughan & O’Donovan, who have been working closely with Waterford City and County Council on the project for the past two years. 

In addition to providing engineering support to the local authority, Roughan & O’Donovan undertook, as part of the preparation of the planning scheme, the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), Appropriate Assessment (AA) and the Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (SFRA).

For Roughan & O’Donovan’s Project Director, Tony Dempsey, the result was very welcome, as the reconfiguration of the narrow (40-100m) riverside site posed particular challenges for the team in terms of access.

Considerable ingenuity was required to design a circulation network that could unlock the full potential of the site.

A modern city quarter

The scheme will see the transformation of the 8.23 hectare former industrial site into a vibrant, mixed-use development that will act as a regeneration catalyst for the city and the region.  

It allows for up to 150,000m² of city centre mixed use development and is expected to deliver new high-quality retail, hotel, office, tourism and cultural facilities.  Up to 300 residential units and a new riverside walkway are also envisaged.

An integrated multi-modal transport hub

The scheme will include a multi-modal transport hub to accommodate interchange between pedestrian, cycling, car, rail and bus modes. 

The relocated Plunkett train station will be an integral part of the hub, which will have direct connections to the Dock Road, the Dungarvan-New Ross greenway and a new sustainable transport bridge across the River Suir, which provides a direct link right into the heart of the city centre.

Sustainability is key

The SDZ will be one of the first in Ireland to require future developments to comply with ‘nearly zero energy buildings’ (NZEB) standards.  These measures will support conservation of fuel and energy in buildings, and therefore, the Government’s commitment to transitioning to a low-carbon, climate-resilient and environmentally sustainable economy by 2050.