A landmark day for Athlone as a large scale housing development, to incorporate a mix of private and social homes, has been proposed for the Lissywollen South/Brawny area of the town.
This housing development, subject to planning, encompasses an infrastructural scale, which complements Athlone’s designation as a regional growth centre under the National Framework Plan 2040.
A consortium, Alanna-Roadbridge, who provided the successful tender for the project, will pay €2.4 million to Westmeath County Council for the development lands, the terms of which include the construction of 562 houses, 392 private and 170 social dwellings.
Expressing positivity with regard to the news, Cllr. Aengus O’Rourke remarked that the project is the largest infrastructural development in which the local authority has been involved.
“It is a very significant day here in Athlone. Strategic housing developments like this are in line with our designation as a regional growth centre for the Midlands. We desperately need more social and private housing developments and this project delivers on both of these needs.
“I am sure the IDA, the business community and the people of Athlone will welcome this ambitious project. We need to grow as a town. Our submission to the Regional Spacial Economic Strategy in terms of population growth is ambitious and we need to be of that particular mindset in our outlook,” Cllr. O’Rourke noted.
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As development works, which include the construction of a road to run from the rear of Athlone Regional Sports Centre to the Moydrum roundabout, will be vast, the Councillor reiterated that it is vital to obtain the views of local residents prior to the project commencing.
“We need to proceed with great care and listen closely to the concerns of those living in the area prior to works commencing. We will listen to the local people and consult openly with them on a regular basis and in a meaningful way,” Cllr. O’Rourke emphasised.
Noting that the demand for affordable social and private housing in Athlone was at an all time high, Town Mayor, Cllr. Frankie Keena acknowledged that the development was the biggest housing scheme to be proposed within the county.
“The project provides 562 housing units ranging from one to four bed units on a 39.5 acre site and the provision of same will bring welcome relief to the large number of people looking to purchase or obtain a local authority house,” Cllr. Keena reflected.
Echoing similar sentiments to those of his local political colleague, Cllr. Keena stated that the concerns of the local residents would be considered during the detailed planning stage.
“The line of the proposed through road dissects the green area in the vicinity, removing a valued amenity area that is used for recreation purposes, while the residents fear for the safety of their children due to the expected increase in volume of traffic going through their area. A major community facility, which is an integral feature of such housing developments will be provided as the local authority engage with Westmeath Community Development pertaining to funding in this regard,” the Town Mayor concluded.