A study into the heritage of the Fore area of Westmeath has received a commendation from the Irish Planning Institute at the National Planning Awards ceremony which was held recently in Custom House, Dublin.
The Fore Special Heritage Study was praised for its contribution to planning in the Strategic and Local Plan Making category.
The plan addresses issues for the Fore area such as ecology, landscape, biodiversity, archaeology, conservation, tourism, and agriculture, and was prepared by Westmeath County Council in conjunction with Philip Geoghegan of iCON Architecture, Urban Design and Conservation.
In attendance at the ceremony were Cllr Frank McDermott, senior executive officer Declan Leonard, senior planner Terry McCague, Philip Geoghegan of iCON Architecture, and Ned Nolan, joint treasurer of Fore Heritage and Amenity Group.
Chairman of the Coole area and of Fore Heritage & Amenity Group, Cllr Frank McDermott, acknowledged the huge investment of energy and resources by Westmeath County Council in maintaining heritage at Fore.
“On behalf of our community I must congratulate Philip Geoghegan, architect, for creating a master plan to assist us with future developments. Significant developments are planned over the next few months to enhance our amenity and heritage.
“As a member of Westmeath County Council it was a huge honour to accept the commendation.”
Fore is one of Westmeath’s most important archaeological centres and cultural landscapes. The designation of Fore village and its hinterland as a Special Heritage Area results from the realisation of its exceptional historical and archaeological importance. The richness of the archaeological and historical remains of Fore village together with the unique landscape setting and its largely unspoilt character mark this area out as one of national importance.
The principle aim of the management study is to assist Westmeath County Council, the local community and various agencies in planning the sustainable future development of the area. The study addresses issues of sustainability for Fore and outlines a programme of conservation, heritage, ecology, and sustainable tourism projects in the area together with a design framework to guide future development within Fore village.
The ceremony was attended by Minister of State for Housing and Planning Jan O’Sullivan, who said the awards “aim to highlight the best examples of planning practice and to raise the standard of townscape design and planning awareness both within the public and private sectors”.