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Carlow Sugar factory site- what should be done?

  • 06-09-2006 12:39pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 18,459 ✭✭✭✭ road_high


    This debate is in the news again locally, with Carlow town and county councils trying to decide on best to promote redevelopment of the Athy road site.
    My opinion is that while I know the loss of Irish Sugar was traumatic for Carlow and the region, we have to look forward and realise the huge potential of the site to redeveloped and provide new jobs locally into the future.Also the scandal of the vacant IDA business park is discussed below.

    Here is an editorial form a while back which I've resurrected from the Nationalist;
    ********************************************************
    Thursday, July 13, 2006

    The two sides of rezoning

    ON the one hand I have to agree with the members of Carlow County Council concerning their dissatisfaction with the IDA with regard to attracting new investment to the town. On the other, I fail to understand their reluctance to start the ball rolling to rezone the old Sugar Factory site on the outskirts of the town.

    To say Carlow has been ignored by State agencies is an understatement. Ask anyone and they can quickly tell you of Braun and Läpple being attracted to Carlow. But that was back in the 1970s. How many can tell you of others since then?

    When the idea of constructing a Business and Technology Park was first mooted almost ten years ago, Ireland was just beginning to experience all the benefits of the IT boom.

    People were delighted with the idea. Carlow may have been experiencing a huge growth in the number of housing estates under construction but the prospect of new industries coming to the town looked as though there would be huge potential for much-needed jobs.

    Sadly, after a lot of talk – too much talk in fact - very little happened.Years later there is still only one advance factory on the site – while the IT boom has come and gone. Some might think all the talk and very little action may have resulted in Carlow being spared the trauma of some new businesses closing within months of opening up but others are quick to point out that not all new businesses that started during that period have closed up. Some, in fact, have proved highly successful and are excellent employers.

    The local authority was right to invite and then grill the IDA representatives about the inactivity associated with the Business and Technology Park. To say that nine or ten prospective employers were shown the site is not good enough. You could do that in a matter of weeks or months, let alone years. If a private developer owned that same property, it would be a hub of activity by now. I have never understood why the IDA believes it must be an overseas company who would make a welcome tenant.

    Surely to God there are local or national businesses which could use such an excellent facility to grow their business?

    I can remember another time when the IDA owned a much sought after site closer to the heart of the town and, would you believe it if I told you that although purchased in the 1970s, it is only now that it is being built on. It is a good job others were not so lax when it came to developing the employment prospects in the town.

    However, while I applaud the local authority for its stance with regard to the Business and Technology Park, I have to admit I find fault with its attitude towards the rezoning of the Sugar Factory site.

    Currently zoned for industrial use, the value of the property, currently estimated at €40 million, would shoot up to three or four times that if it was rezoned for commercial and residential. But should the members be interested in this financial windfall for its owners, Greencore, or should it be more interested in how the site is developed?

    I believe it should be interested in its development first and the knock on effect that would have for the town. Naturally, it would be a great idea if we had an industrial zone on the outskirts of the town but let’s be honest - what chance do we have of making such an area work if one which has been developed at a cost of €11 million is currently lying idle?

    On the other hand, it is generally accepted that Carlow is now a recognised retail centre in the region. The large numbers availing of the rail service to Dublin on a daily basis also confirms it has become a dormitory town for the capital.

    For years Carlow took pride in its sugar industry but there is no point in crying over spilt milk. Like the frozen food industry, which once held so much promise for the town, that era has come and gone and will never return. The entire sugar industry is no more and it is now up to those in power to ensure Carlow makes the best use of that wonderful asset for the good of the town.

    A lasting legacy which will ensure the continued economic growth of the town, just as the Sugar Factory did during the bleak years in Ireland. It is not good enough to adopt an attitude that by moving on the site now would only be helping Greencore. That is simply not true. However, the members are right in stating they should not be in a rush to make a quick decision. Any decision made in haste could be regretted at leisure. However, the process should not be left in abeyance but should be started as quickly as possible.


Comments

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 88,981 ✭✭✭✭ mike65


    I think Carlow is now little more than a combined market town/commuter outpost. The failure of the Industrial Park would seem to indicate that no-one sees any good reason to locate in an area which is'nt near a port facility.

    Is the suger factory site cleared yet?

    Mike.


  • Registered Users Posts: 18,459 ✭✭✭✭ road_high


    mike65 wrote:
    I think Carlow is now little more than a combined market town/commuter outpost. The failure of the Industrial Park would seem to indicate that no-one sees any good reason to locate in an area which is'nt near a port facility.

    Is the suger factory site cleared yet?

    Mike.

    I think it has a lot more to do with government indifference than location; it is surely a great location equidistant from Dublin, Waterford and Rosslare ports!
    Abysmal road access via N9 has been a big drawback.
    Furthermore, why is that a flagship industry like Abbott Ireland can locate in Longford, Cavan and Sligo and the park in Carlow so close to Dublin can remain idle. And industrial parks like the Parkwest and ones around Naas are burgeoning, and these just 40 mins up the road!

    As for the sugar factory, it hasn't been cleared. They still pack sugar there, but for how long I don't know. There is a big planning process involved in demolition due to hazardous material removal ( a lot of asbestos) and issues like that. It will take years to get it redeveloped.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 388 ✭✭ Milktrolley


    The IDA Park is the biggest joke ever. Period. When you're driving past you can see the 30mph sign there. Goes to show that there's so little interest in it that it's not even worth changing the sign. It's not going to affect anybody, so why bother?

    Interestingly, I came across an old copy of The Nationalist recently in the course of my daily rummaging. It outlined the plans for the IDA Park and projected the benefits to the town. It mentioned nothing about hay bales though :rolleyes:


  • Registered Users Posts: 18,459 ✭✭✭✭ road_high


    The IDA Park is the biggest joke ever. Period. When you're driving past you can see the 30mph sign there. Goes to show that there's so little interest in it that it's not even worth changing the sign. It's not going to affect anybody, so why bother?

    Interestingly, I came across an old copy of The Nationalist recently in the course of my daily rummaging. It outlined the plans for the IDA Park and projected the benefits to the town. It mentioned nothing about hay bales though :rolleyes:

    It's a joke indeed..
    Why is that this park lies empty while 40 mins up the N9 in Citywest/Parkwest and even Naas the business parks are bursting at the seems with new warehouses and industry? It is inexplicable in my view.
    A little known fact in the s east is that the 'south east IDA Regional Office' is in fact based in another region...Cork city. So, what exactly is an office based 200 km away going to do to promote a business park in Carlow- answer SFA!
    They should encourage some Irish indigenous companies to locate here after investing so much in the park, why does it always have to be foreign companies?


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