The sound of Councillors’ applause filled City Hall on Monday evening as a unanimous vote recommended the go-ahead for the new Waterford Crystal Visitor Centre at the former ESB building on The Mall.
Every Councillor spoke of their delight at the strides which City Manager Michael Walsh has made in recent months to ensure that one of Ireland’s most famous brands will once again be blown and cut in Waterford.
The manufacturing plant and visitor centre proposal was subject to Part 8 regulations as outlined under the Planning & Development Act, which means the proposal will not come before An Bord Pleanála.
During the prescribed period allowed for public consultation, the Council received two submissions on the proposal, namely from Kilmacow resident John Fitzgerald and from Rita Canney of Granstown Village.
In response to both, whose concerns mainly related to potential traffic and environmental problems, Environmental Services and Planning Director Colette Byrne provided a detailed, written reply.
“The (manufacturing) process involves the batching, blowing, finishing and cutting of lead crystal glass,” writes Ms Byrne.
“It does not involve washing and acid polishing which will be carried out elsewhere. It is intended to create a two tonne electric furnace with a capacity of 730 tonnes per annum. The former Kilbarry plant had a capacity of 9,000 tonnes per annum.
“The threshold for the requirement for an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is 5,000 tonnes per annum. It is clear therefore that the scale of the proposed facility is well below the threshold at which significant environmental concerns arise.”
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