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Department officials travel to Westport for plan meeting

Department officials travel to Westport for town plan meeting

Michael Duffy

Officials from the Department of the Environment are to visit Westport on this coming Friday to meet with councillors and discuss the zoning of land in both the town area and its outskirts.
The meeting will take place at the Council Offices at 12.30pm and all four area councillors, aswell as two town councillors, Cathaoirleach Christy Hyland and Cllr Ollie Gannon, will attend the meeting.
Town manager Mr Joe Beirne told last week’s meeting of Westport Town Council that it was not often that officials would travel from Dublin for such a meeting and it was clear that the Department had serious issues with the plan as it stands. They could also give a direction to change it. In August, councillors rejecting zoning changes suggested by the Manager.
Cllr Hyland told last week’s meeting that he will listen to what concerns are raised by the officials and relay those concerns to his council colleagues. He said land zoning and the decisions taken by some councils in the last decade was one of the reasons that the economy was in the state it was.
Cllr Margaret Adams said she hoped Cllr Hyland was not inferring that Westport was one of the towns that took wrong decisions. She said the decision to zone so much land for housing was taken so young people in the Westport area had access to land so they could build houses close to the town.
“We zoned that land because there was an area in Castlebar called ‘Little Westport’ due to the fact that so many Westport people were living over there. We zoned that land to give young couples a chance but then the economy took a turn for the worse,” said Cllr Adams.
Any changes made to the current Town Plan would have to go before a full meeting of Mayo County Council to be ratified.