A group of innovative business owners from Westport have come together to create a plan which will see the Market Lane area of Westport become Ireland’s first sustainable neighbourhood in the west of Ireland.
The main focus of the Market Lane Sustainable Street Group’s plan is to revitalise and promote the Market Lane area — which has a number of shops, cafes, restaurants and apartments — with the aim of regenerating the community, making it vibrant and green friendly.
Those who are involved in this “forward thinking project” include David Le Mansey, architect; David Whelan, sustainability advisor; Paula Cannon, who runs a landscape business; Tom Brawn, owner of Brawn’s Florists; and Peter Krahenbuhl, sustainable travel consultant.
During a presentation to the town council, it was outlined that an energy audit has been carried out in the area, as was a community survey, with findings leading to the proposal for an increase of lighting; a hub centre; and making the area more green friendly through exploring ways to make energy savings.
One of the more exciting plans from the group is to place a roof above the laneways which could therefore facilitate outdoor events. There is also an idea to call the area the Green Mile where it would be inter-connected with the Greenway.
The group, who are just at research stage, are looking for the town council’s assistance and endorsement, which will help the group apply for funding.
Councillor Tereasa McGuire said that it was “very heartening” to see people make an effort to help themselves. Her fellow party councillor, Cllr Myles Staunton said it was great that they were “thinking outside the box”, and Cllr Brendan Mulroy said it was good to see such “forward thinking”.
Cllr Michael McLaughlin said that such proactive work “is needed right throughout the whole country”.
Town manager Joe Beirne said that he would get the town engineer and town architect to have a look at the proposal. However Mr Beirne said the “first problem” is the fact that the development in the Market Lane area has not been taken in charge by the town council.
Cathaoirleach of the town council Cllr Christy Hyland commended the group and said: “You are an example why Westport is up there at the top... upwards and onwards.”