Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said that the fire at the old Meat Plant in Clonmel has presented the town with a valuable opportunity to re-designate the site for the development of social and affordable housing as well as a community retirement housing initiative. Deputy McGrath was speaking after a blaze ripped through the five acre former site of Fair Oak Foods, formerly known as Clonmel Foods:
“It is a tragedy that this part of the sites history has come to such a brutal end given the many good memories and years of employment that the old Clonmel Foods operation helped bring about.
That being said I think we should now focus on drawing some good from this unfortunate incident and move to immediately acquire the site for the construction and development of various kinds of housing need.
We know that as far back as 2008 Parma Developments submitted a planning application to Clonmel Borough Council to build a luxury hotel on the site as well as retail units.
However, I believe that the needs of the town’s population would be better met at this point if the site was re-designated for residential use and if the ideal location of the property could be maximised for the greatest possible social benefit.
The construction of another retail centre is not what Clonmel Town needs. What it does need is the urgent acquisition and development of houses, both private and social.
I will be organising a meeting in the very near future to try and push this idea through; an idea that I believe would have much wider public support than using the site for a luxury hotel or retail units,” concluded Deputy McGrath.