Glasson village plan remains in limbo

Cllr Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran has asked the council to take another look at the Local Area Plan for Glasson, as councillors are still not happy with zoning for housing development in the area.

Cllr Moran feels there is scope for one-off housing in the Glasson area, which is not being catered for by the current plan.

“We haven’t done ourselves justice in making something happen in Glasson. We should put the plan back on display. One-off housing in an area like this would sell very well,” he said at the Athlone Municipal District on Monday (February 2 ).

Cllr John Dolan said such housing would tie in with the development of the whole region. “We have a great opportunity here; the village hasn’t been spoilt, and the services are there,” he said.

Councillors had previously discussed the possibility of providing ‘executive housing’ to cater for the staff of companies setting up in Athlone and surrounding areas; however the zoning they proposed was overruled last April by the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government.

Director of services Barry Kehoe told councillors there were no current plans to review the plan, which caters for the years 2014-2020, and that the zoning previously proposed by councillors to allow for housing development had been rejected.

“We do have a village plan for Glasson as part of the County Development Plan, but unfortunately the zoning the members envisaged was removed by ministerial direction, as it was inconsistent with national policy.

“It is a very small village of 150-200 people, and Government policy is that small villages should grow in a very slow way, with no housing estates. The members intended low density development... but the difficulty is once you zone land for housing development it is out of your hands and can end up with large scale housing development,” said Mr Kehoe.

“Don’t kick it to touch,” appealed Cllr Moran; however Mr Kehoe said the council could not now recommend something different to what the Minister had recommended.

Councillors also discussed the plans for the nearby Portlick Amenity Area at Monday’s meeting. The council has recommended segregating horse and pedestrian trails through the woods in the interest of public safety; however members were also concerned at the lack of plans so far to develop water sports and a playground at the amenity area.

Phase 2 of the plan is to come before the council in September, with works to take place next winter.

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