Westmeath County Council commences its review of the existing County Development Plan and the preparation of the new County Development Plan 2014-2020 next Wednesday February 22. This process must be completed within two years, by February 2014.
The initial stage of this process is the pre-draft public consultation phase which will inform the content of the Draft County Development Plan.
The County Development Plan is one of the most important documents produced by the council because it affects everyone living and working in the county in one way or another. It is a democratic document which requires the approval of the elected members following several stages of public consultation. It is essential that as many people as possible participate in the process. The Development Plan sets out the overall strategy for the proper planning and sustainable development for the county for a period of six years.
The plan is made by the elected members of the local authority and should reflect the broad aims and wishes of the people of Westmeath. Public participation is an essential element in the planning process, and in particular the formation of planning policies which will shape the future development of the county.
A number of issues papers have been prepared to stimulate debate on the strategic issues affecting the county and will form the basis of the initial period of public consultation lasting eight weeks. These papers concern a number of policy areas which are considered to be important to the plan such as economic development and employment, educational and community facilities, recreation, amenity, and resource protection. They are intended to assist in the public consultation process but do not purport to cover all the issues involved. The issues papers will be available online at www.westmeathcoco.ie/cdp from February 22.
A series of public workshops/meetings are being organised throughout the county at which members of the public will be invited to discuss issues relating to the content of the new County Development Plan with staff of the forward planning department. Members of the public are then invited to make submissions on the issues of relevance or interest to them. Requests or proposals for zoning of particular land for any purpose cannot be considered at this pre-draft consultation stage.
How to make a submission
Submissions may be made in writing, by email, or online. Submissions can be made in writing to Westmeath County Council from February 22 to April 17 to County Development Plan Submissions, Administrative Officer, Forward Planning Section, Westmeath County Council, County Buildings, Mullingar.
Members of the public and other interested groups are invited to attend an open day on Tuesday February 28 in relation to the Draft County Development Plan 2014-2020 in the County Buildings, Mullingar from noon to 8pm. Staff of the forward planning section of the council will be available on the day to assist the public in regard to any enquiries which they may have and in relation to participation in the plan process.