⚠️ Please note that this service area is not yet open.
In 2015, the new Transport Infrastructure Ireland began plans for a new network of motorway services, with Ennis being one of the first proposals. They then started calling it Newmarket-on-Fergus services, and said it would be built between J10 and J11.
While TII have made no progress their proposal, despite the M18 being completed in 2017 and their assurances that something would be open by 2020, in October 2022 Supermac's secured planning permission for a privately developed Ennis Plaza to be built at J12. Supermac's say work will start soon, with it opening in late 2023.
The Ennis Plaza will be accessed from a left turn on the road to Quin. It will have car parking, coach parking, HGV parking and fuel pumps for all vehicles, all arranged on different sides of the main building. The main building will be very similar to the likes of Galway, with all facilities downstairs and extra seating and toilets upstairs. Facilities are likely to include SPAR, Supermac's, Papa John's Pizza, SuperSubs, Mac's Place, Bewley's On The Go and a fuel brand.
Ennis Chamber were concerned that a service area would take trade from local villages.
Knowing that the new motorway was coming and that the Irish road authorities would be slow with service areas, Supermac's first proposed a facility in 2014. They branded it J12 Ennis and planning permission was awarded, but following objections from Applegreen and a local filling station it went to An Bord Pleanála, who raised environmental concerns.
The SuperStop consortium issued plans for a service area near Dromoland Castle in 2015. It most likely would have been branded Applegreen. It would have had a single, large amenity building with space for five outlets with parking areas all around it. It was rejected because there was a preference for a TII development, as well as problems with its road layout and design and an objection from Supermac's.
At this stage the motorway was now open, and TII warned there would be delays to their own proposals while they reviewed their procedures.
In July 2018 Supermac's lodged another planning application to build an Ennis Plaza at M18 J12, with 175 parking spaces on a 4.8-hectare site. They claim that it will showcase Ennis's history of Irish music, arguing that the motorway was taking trade away from the town and that they wanted to change this.
The Supermac's plan was approved, but its approval was overturned by An Bord Pleanála. Supermac's submitted an updated proposal in 2020, which was eventually approved by An Bord Pleanála in October 2022.
Supermac's have distanced themselves from a number of forged letters sent in support of the proposal. Applegreen have objected to the proposal, claiming it's an unsuitable location, and there are a number of objections from local businesses, including Maxol. Supermac's have alleged that Applegreen offered to withdraw their objection in return for being offered the petrol station at the site.
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