They way we were...Two of the three cranes have gone and the last will be taken down next weekend
The last crane at the unopened shopping centre in Naas won't be coming down this weekend, after all.
Two of the three structures, erected a decade ago, were dismantled and removed last weekend.
It was planned that the third one would be taken down in an operation conducted from South Main Street starting later today or tomorrow. All of the work is scheduled as weekends to minimise the impact on traffic.
However this has been deferred until Friday next (Sept. 14) because of likely weather conditions, according to Kildare County Council.
The removal of the third crane will causes more disruption than the work down to take down the others. This is because this will be done from the main street instead of Corban’s Lane.
Unlike last weekend when traffic disruption was largely confined to Corban's Lane as two cranes were removed, there will be delays on the main street from tomorrow.
This because the final crane will be dismantled from South Main Street. The work is being done at weekends to avoid congestion in an area where there is considerable weekday school traffic.
Politicians have broadly welcomed the decision to remove the cranes which had towered above Naas Shopping Centre for a decade.
Fianna Fail TD James Lawless said the work “takes away an eyesore which people have long been complaining about particularly since the cranes have done nothing for some time.” However Dep. Lawless also sought to assuage fears that the removal of the cranes might lead to a prolonged delay before the centre is sold. “This is a good progression, it does not mean that the centre has been abandoned as has been suggested by some on social media,” he said, adding that the cranes are falling apart and represent part of a construction site from ten years ago.“ This in no way signifies that the Naas shopping centre has been abandoned,” said Dep. Lawless.
He said the site is being prepared for a sale, a process that did not take place up to now because of financial arrangements made between the National asset Management Agency and the developers and these arrangements were fully honoured by the developers.
“The hope is that the centre will be put up for sale shorty.”
While it is his preference that the centre opens as originally intended it could, subject to the appropriate planning permission, host another a number of enterprises and these could include the centre opening as offices or an education campus. He said it may well be that any additional work needed on the site after the premises will be sold will be facilitated by new cranes moving in. “I don't want to speculate on what it might open as but the removal of the cranes is the first sign of progress there for a long time.
It may well be that a new owner will produce figures to show that a shopping centre might not be viable in the town centre.”
The shopping centre was the brainchild of Marshalsea, a locally owned development company which has separate interests in Dublin.
The reaction of business people was more mixed.
Andy Hogan, proprietor of 33 South Main in Naas, criticised the fact that they were not told that Corban's Lane would be closed to through traffic on Friday evening and throughout Saturday.
“Had we been informed then we could have put up signs highlighting that it was possible to access our premises from Fairgreen Street. It's great that the cranes are coming down but nobody is happy that the shopping centre has not opened. I'd really like to see something happen with the centre.”
Conor McCormack, of the nearby McCormack's pub, also said that the centre needs to open. “Nobody knows what's happening with the centre and we're wondering if new cranes need to be erected to finish off the centre,” said Mr. McCormack.