Westmeath County Council is officially back in the business of housing construction, after councillors gave the go-ahead to a 33-unit social housing development at Arcadia, Athlone.
The €6 million development, next to Athlone Mixed National School, will cater for a variety of housing needs, with seven different types of unit, including housing for families and older people. It is expected to go to tender later this year, with a construction period of around 18 months to follow.
A three-storey building will provide a gateway feature into the development, while four single-storey dwellings will cater for the needs of older people and people with disabilities. The remainder of the buildings are three- and four-bedroom semi-detached and terraced dwellings.
The development will be accessed via a roundabout on the Coosan Road, while pedestrian access to the back lane of Assumption Road will allow for connectivity with St Kieran’s Community Centre.
Seven public submissions were received during the consultation period, which ended on January 18. Several raised concerns about boundary types and heights, whether the proposed green space was adequate, the threat of antisocial behaviour or dumping in certain areas, and pedestrian safety.
A concern was also raised about the high density of social housing in one area; with 80 local authority houses already adjacent to this site, the proposal will result in 113 social houses within one area.
Having taken the submissions into account, the council’s chief executive Pat Gallagher recommended the project proceed, subject to a number of requirements. These include a proposed locked gate for residents of Assumption Road who currently have rear access to the access laneway to the south of the Arcadia site; the provision of a 2-metre high rendered block wall along the southern boundary of the site; and inclusion of a pedestrian crossing across the L4003 (McDonagh Road ) to Arcadia Retail Centre.
Athlone councillors welcomed the report, which was proposed by Cllr Tom Farrell (FG ) and seconded by Cllr Paul Hogan (SF ).