Controversial Strokestown plan awarded €7.9m

Strokestown has been awarded a substantial investment of nearly €7.9 million for significant ‘public realm enhancement’ works to its town centre.

The plan, which restricts parking in the town to approximately 200 designated car parking spaces – a significant reduction on the current capacity of the town’s wide streets – had been met with opposition from a number of local businesses and residents. These include the local secondary school, which cited health and safety concerns about ingress and egress, on Church Street, during drop-off and pick-up times.
The funding includes €5,867,496 from the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund (RRDF) and is complemented by an additional €2 million in match funding being put forward by Roscommon County Council.

The Part 8 planning permission was granted by the councillors in the Boyle Municipal District late last year, with three councillors voting in favour of the plan, two opposing it, and one abstention.
The funding announcement was made this week by Heather Humphreys, Minister for Rural and Community Development.

Ballinasloe-based Fine Gael senator, Aisling Dolan, commented on the announcement saying: “Congratulations to the Town Team in Strokestown and retailers coming together with regeneration teams in Roscommon County Council to win this funding for Strokestown. Now these groups working together will develop Town Centre First plan and clear actions to deliver these projects”.
Senator Dolan continued: “This is a massive boost of €7.9 million in funding and is a major win for Strokestown, an historic and heritage town. This successful funding announcement today will be a major turning point for Strokestown and shows the plans to develop the town for the future for people of all ages”.
Local retailer Frank Hanly, proprietor of Hanly’s Eurospar in Strokestown, had been a staunch advocate for the retention of all on-street parking throughout the planning phase of the project.

Speaking to the Roscommon People, Mr Hanly said: “I hope the council follow through on their commitment to prioritising the facilitation of off-street parking and that in parts of the town where it’s appropriate, I think a two-hour time limit for some parking spaces is vitally important when this project goes ahead”.
Last year, at a public meeting facilitated by Strokestown Town Team, John O’Beirne, Chairperson of the Strokestown Agricultural & Industrial Show, explained that on the show day, despite facilitating thousands of cars on the show grounds, the entire town would be full, with another contribution from the floor suggesting there were over 2,000 cars parked on the streets on the last show day.
One local business woman, who did not wish to be named and who had been an advocate for the project from its inception, told the Roscommon People: “I just hope this doesn’t divide people in the town. There were some genuine concerns raised during the consultation process and the council can get more support from the people of the town, for the project, if they work with them and listen to the concerns. There is no reason not to tweak the plans if it increases public buy-in”.

As we go to print, there is no definite date set for the project to commence.