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New village design to move Newport ‘into the premier league’


MAKING PLANS Proposed plans for Newport as part of the Newport Regeneration Project will be put on public display by Mayo County Council in the coming weeks.

Anton McNulty

A PROPOSED village design scheme for Newport has the potential to make the west Mayo town a top-tier tourism destination and a major hub for walking and cycling.
The proposed plans for Newport as part of the Newport Regeneration Project will be put on public display by Mayo County Council in the coming weeks, with the local community being encouraged to view them and make submissions.
Noelle Angley, an architect with Mayo County Council, outlined the design to councillors of the Westport/Belmullet Municipal District at a behind-closed-doors workshop ahead of their monthly meeting last Monday.
The plans include cycle lanes, car parking for the Greenway and essential safe-access and road crossings for cyclists and pedestrians, as well as landscaping works in the town.
Speaking at the municipal district meeting, where it was agreed to put the draft design forward for public display, Westport-based councillor Peter Flynn said that the plans could take Newport ‘from the first division into the premier league’.
“We have something which people will be genuinely be excited about. This is a plan which will take Newport into a different level altogether. There is no question about it, Newport can become the hub for walking and cycling in this county,” he said.
Saying that Newport has the potential to be a link to north Mayo, Cllr Flynn pointed out that the town already has the Greenway going through it, while the Burrishoole Walks and the Bangor Trail are close by.
“We already have connections to Achill, and this can be the starting point to connections down to Ballycroy and Belmullet, the Ceide Fields and Downpatrick Head and onto Ballina. We can create this massive network of walking and cycling trials within this county, with Newport at the heart of it. That is why we need to get this right,” he said.

Cllr Flynn’s fellow Westport councillor Brendan Mulroy said that the design will be a ‘massive project’ for Newport, and there is a bright future ahead for the town. He encouraged the people of the town and the surrounding areas to look at the plan and make submissions, or ask their public representatives to do so on their behalf.
Achill-based councillor Paul McNamara said that Newport has everything a small town needs to move forward in terms of facilities and its location and that he is in no doubt it will be ‘the place to be’ if things are done right.
Funding for the design stage was granted under the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund (RRDF). Director of Services, Catherine McConnell explained that they hope to be in a position to avail of Category 1 funding at the end of 2021. She added that the new plans for Newport will allow the town to realise its potential.
“It sets out a blueprint of how Newport can shape and develop and realise its potential, which we all agreed is like a sleeping gem. But it is time Newport came into the spotlight and realised its potential as a tourism hub and a hub for people choosing a different model of life. It has great access to services and a great quality of life, and we look forward to the potential changes which will come as a result of this village design statement,” she told the councillors.
Ms McConnell also explained that money was put aside in the Council’s annual budget after the increase in the Local Property Tax to avail of matching funding in regenerational projects for towns in the region. She added that Belmullet was one of the towns in the Council’s sights ‘for a really big regeneration project under the RRDF’.