Labour councillor Keith Martin is calling on Westport people to make submissions on the new town and environs plan before the closing date of September 14. The plan deals with Westport House, Knockranny/Colonel Woods, and Westport town and environs.
Cllr Martin says the public needs to be aware of what he calls “drastic and controversial” zonings proposed in the plan.
Under the new zoning proposals for Westport House Demesne, a large building such as a 140 bedroom hotel or a conference centre could be built adjacent to Westport House. The plan also allows for tourism development on the estate adjacent to Hotel Westport and for the development of 90 units of housing in the Demesne on the Golf Course Road.
Cllr Martin has previously expressed his concerns at these developments at the July meeting on the zoning when he proposed that no building be allowed near the house and that plans for tourism development at the Hotel Westport gate be abandoned, but his motion was not seconded by any other councillor, he claimed in a statement this week.
“I am very concerned that the estate is being dismantled piece by piece for development. If we allow this to continue there will be very little left of the estate to preserve for future generations.”
Cllr Martin did say that he was encouraged by the plans for the rest of the estate for a visitors’ centre, tourist accommodation on the current campsite areas, and new attractions, but that his main concerns where in relation to the further incursion of the town into the estate and the proposal for building near the house itself which would destroy the historic core of the estate.
In relation to the Colonel’s Wood development Cllr Martin led the original opposition to the idea of a nursing home there. “I compared its design and location to something akin to the Furher Bunker and I stand by that. I am glad that this development will not be going ahead. The whole project was just a get rich quick scheme for Coillte,” he added.
“The real problem as far as I am concerned lies outside the town in the environs plan where almost all the environs are zoned for even more housing on lands that are not serviced by Westport Town Council. It’s bungalow bliss out there and you also have the ridiculous situation of lands like the former coursing field still being zoned for development. Development that will never come!”
Cllr Martin is calling on people to make submissions on the plan before the closing date of September 14. There is no fee and submissions can be made in writing or by email to Ann Moore, town clerk, Westport Civic Offices, Westport, Co Mayo.