Plans by cinema giants Omniplex to redevelop Longford's vacant shopping centre have been given a massive lift.
Ambitious plans to develop a multi million euro retail and entertainment complex have been given a major shot in the arm after a third party objection to its construction was withdrawn.
Back in November, the Leader told of how a four page objection to Longford County Council's decision to grant Omniplex approval to the plans was lodged by local architect Liam Madden, on behalf of his client Vincent Casey.
The State's independent planning authority was issued with the appeal after Longford County Council gave the go ahead the previous month for the cinema firms plans to change the use of the shopping centre, now known as Riverside Shopping Centre, to a cinema with six screens.
Cllr Joe Flaherty, this afternoon, welcomed news, adding the move represented a vote of confidence in Longford's steadily improving local economy.
He said: “Confirmation this morning from An Bord Pleanala that an objection to the first grant of planning permission in respect of the Omniplex group's plans for the Riverside Shopping centre is to be welcomed. With no third party objections to a second related planning application submitted before Christmas, it is hoped that works can commence on the ambitious project very soon.”
The withdrawal of the objection means that the company now have the go ahead to refit the first floor as a state of the art cinema and entertainment centre.
Cllr Flaherty said Omniplex's second application promised to get "into the real meat of the development", providing for the demolition of the existing cinema and the creation of a new urban space at river walk level.
It's anticipated the new look centre will connect to Bridge Street with a new glazed atrium entrance also being mooted as part of the large scale project.
“This is a hugely significant project that will put the focus firmly on the River Camlin and is arguably the first time that a major commercial development focuses on the potential of the waterway," he said.
"This is something that has been done with great success in Limerick and closer to home, Carrick on Shannon.”
In addition, the plan provides for a new small retail / cafe area at river walkway level as well as two new retail units at the upper level of the new urban space.
“The Riverside centre development will give added momentum to the Camlin Quarter regeneration plans for the Lower Main St / Connolly Barracks / Gt Water St area," he said.
"The Omniplex project is just the type of private sector investment and vision that will underpin the Camlin Quarter plans.”