A strategic housing development planning application for 576 dwellings at Lissywollen and Kilnafaddoge has been formally lodged with An Bord Pleanála, Westmeath County Council confirmed this week.
The ambitious housing project located on 17.6 hectares of land in the ownership of Westmeath County Council, to the west of Scoil na gCeithre Máistrí and to the east and west of the existing housing at Brawny Road, will realise a contemporary scheme of 576 residential units, if approved for development.
Comprising 400 private residential properties and 170 social homes, the planning permission announcement was welcomed by Athlone Town Mayor, Cllr O’Rourke.
“This ambitious project has been a long time in gestation and much work has taken place behind the scenes to prepare this application for a decision from An Bord Pleanala.
“Alanna-Roadbridge, the developer, has been working on the project in partnership with Westmeath County Council, and the application is being made under the Strategic Housing Development process.
“If approved, the project would involve the creation of 170 new social housing units and just over 400 privately-owned homes.
This is a hugely ambitious development, the largest housing planning application ever made in this county. 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,” Cllr O’Rourke stated.
According to the Town Mayor, Athlone is in vast need of such housing developments to accommodate future commercial growth within the town and its environs.
“Athlone is in much need of housing developments and were this bid to get the green light it would be a great boost for the housing market in Athlone and for the Midlands region as a whole.
“The location is superb for family homes with easy access to the motorway and numerous retail and recreational facilities and would be an ideal housing development for those wishing to purchase a new residence.
“This housing development, should it be successful, would significantly alleviate the dire shortage of residential properties in the area, both private houses and social.
“This is a 40 acre site, a short distance from the centre of Athlone which was crying out for residential development. However, the site is currently landlocked. This development bid involves the construction of a link road which would open up the lands and facilitate the creation of a range of new housing estates. Each one will have its own style, layout and individual estate name.
“I would like to thank the housing team in Westmeath County Council and the Alana Roadbridge team for their hard work over the past two years and for progressing the proposal to this planning application stage.
“I would also like to sincerely thank the Brawny Liaison Committee who were fundamental to the final design of the feeder road and the layout of the green spaces. I believe that because of their input the plans represents a cleaner, safer and more family orientated design layout,” the Town Mayor concluded.
In a statement, Westmeath County Council noted that the planning permission application to An Bord Pleanála marked an “important milestone” in the delivery of the housing project.
“The project has been developed with the support of the elected members of the Council and working with our stakeholders, including the Housing Agency, the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and the residents of Brawny.
“Following a procurement process, the Council has partnered with Alanna-Roadbridge Joint Venture to progress the project who have now made a formal planning application to An Bord Pleanála.
“The proposed development, if approved, is ideally and centrally located in terms of easy access to the broad range of services and facilities that Athlone has to offer. These include the Old Rail Trail Greenway, the Regional Sports Centre and Fitness Park, primary, secondary and third level education facilities, sporting facilities, and transport facilities to name but a few.
“The proposed new homes vary in size and scale from two-storey housing to a five-storey landmark building at the north-west area of the site and are organised in a network of streets with nine new public greenspaces.
“The development is divided into five distinct character areas, linked by an extensive green network of paths and cycle tracks, with enhanced connectivity via the provision of five new connections to the Old Rail Trail Greenway.
“Vehicular access is proposed from both the Garrycastle Road and from Brawny Road and incorporates dedicated cycleways and pedestrian routes forming the ‘Brawny Access Road’ with the aid of funding from the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund (LIHAF ).
“A new urban public space and community hub building is central to the proposal, envisaged to create a sustainable and attractive public space that integrates seamlessly into the existing Brawny area and its environs. There will also be two new creche/childcare facilities serving the area.
“Westmeath County Council is delighted that this significant housing project is moving forward and the making of the Strategic Housing Application is an important step in the delivery of 576 homes in Athlone and within the county.”