With a focus on the visual enhancement of Moate’s Main Street, a draft local area plan for Moate was set in motion this week. Members of the public now have six weeks to make submissions on the plan.
Described as “aspirational”, the recommendations are to be carried out over a 12-year period.
Westmeath County Council senior planner Terry McCague told councillors the purpose of the plan is to provide in particular for the visual enhancement of the town centre, and to stimulate town centre development, including retail development.
The main focus will be Main Street and Church Street, the area north of Main Street taking in the castle, and the area south of Main Street, mainly encompassing agricultural land.
The enhancement of the town centre will be through the introduction of commercial and mixed-use development. New civic spaces are to be created, and on-street parking regularised. One suggestion is that the area in front of the courthouse become a focal public area.
Last winter’s flooding in Moate’s backlands has resulted in some changes to zoning in the plan, based on the OPW’s record of at-risk areas along the flood plain of the river.
Efforts will be made to link the motte, from which Moate gets its name, and the new town park on the east side. Links will also be created to the town’s backlands.
“The plan works from the centre outwards. The key objective of the plan is to give the opportunity to the town centre to develop and achieve its potential,” explained Mr McCague.
Local councillors Tom Allen and Joe Whelan welcomed the plan, although Cllr Allen expressed some disappointment that the areas identified as at risk from flooding may not now be available for development.
It was agreed that the draft plan will be put on display in Tuar Ard arts centre, and it will also be available on Westmeath County Council’s website.