Researchers at NUI Galway’s School of Geography, Archaeology and Irish Studies have teamed up with Forbairt Pobail Maigh Cuilinn (Moycullen Community Development Association ) to develop a people-powered development plan for the village. The Moycullen 2030 Village Plan project was funded by the Irish Research Council.
The village will see a number of key infrastructural investments in the coming years. Work on the Moycullen bypass is set to commence this year, a new primary school will be built by 2022, and a dedicated cycleway in the form of the Connemara Greenway is due for completion in the same year. Planning permission has recently been granted for 300 homes in the village, and longer term projects such as the planned Galway City Ring Road will also impact the village, with its population expected to at least double by 2030.
The project acted as an effort to plan from the bottom up rather than the top down, and to create a sustainable future for a village in the context of a rapidly urbanising Ireland.
“The people of Moycullen were given a unique opportunity to develop a community based plan for their village, a plan that should play a very important role in the development of the upcoming Local Area Plan for Moycullen,” said Cllr Noel Thomas, who lives in the village. “The results are very impressive and clearly show that the residents of Moycullen want to see the village develop into the future, in a progressive and sustainable manner.”
The project commenced in June 2019, and close to half the population of the village (820 people ) have taken part in its development. Key concerns raised included schooling, infrastructure, and a climate resilient village.
“Ensuring the best possible representation was key,” said principal investigator Dr Patrick Collins, of the discipline of geography at NUI Galway. “We employed a number of new methods such as the development of the village plan app. This augmented reality app helped people appreciate broad considerations, from the environmental to the social and the commercial, in planning for future development.”
Interviews, face-to-face surveys, focus groups, online engagement, and a public event enabled the most comprehensive public engagement ever undertaken in the village. Over the past two months Dr Collins and colleagues have been sifting through the results.
Dr Collins added: “What we have ended up with is an extremely coherent and well thought out plan. This plan not only reflects the desires of the people of a place, but abides by key issues facing us all. It is climate aware, it recognises the key principles of design-led planning, and abides by county level and national planning documents.”
Key recommendations in the plan include a new cultural/community hub in the village, a new park which would also house the farmers’ market, and a focus on the environment and outdoor activities in the future development and branding of the village.