The Athlone Town Development Plan for 2014-2020 is to be published within the next month, after councillors agreed to the final draft of the plan on Tuesday.
A total of 35 submissions were received on the draft plan, with a further 18 received on the amendments - 11 of which related to zoning in the Arcadia area of the town.
There had been a proposal to change the zoning of the northeast portion of Arcadia Retail Park and Neighbourhood Centre from ‘retail warehouse’ to ‘commercial’; however, several submissions suggested that changing the zoning would have a significant negative impact on business in the centre of Athlone.
The final draft of the plan concludes that such a change would “undermine the vitality and viability of the town centre area and existing commercial businesses”, a point which councillors were happy to accept.
County manager Barry Kehoe also informed councillors that a review of the Retail Strategy for the town has been scheduled for 2014, in conjunction with Roscommon and Offaly County Councils.
He was responding to a concern raised by Cllr Mark Cooney that the retail strategy, which has been in place since 2007, is no longer adequate for the town.