Council to reduce amount of land zoned for houses in Castlerea

Roscommon County Council wants to reduce the amount of land zoned for building houses in Castlerea.

  This week, the council released the draft version of the Castlerea Local Area Plan 2016-2022, in which the new zoning plans are contained.

  It is proposed to cut the amount of land zoned for residential development by 44 per cent, from 16 hectares (39.5 acres) to 9.3 hectares (23 acres).

  The Draft Plan says: “The Castlerea Local Area Plan 2012-2018 identified approximately 16 hectares of land for residential development in the town – significantly more than the amount of land needed to accommodate the population growth predicted up to 2022.

  “Development of this extent of land could potentially accommodate up to 320 residences and approximately 800 people.

  “This would be unsustainable and would give rise to deficiencies in servicing such a large population increase, as well as being inconsistent with the town’s low growth rate and the current economic climate.”

  The council expects the population of Castlerea to increase by only 300 over the next six years and, because the average household is 2.5 persons, the total number of residential units required until 2022 would be 120.

  Therefore, the plan says that just 6 hectares (14.8 acres), situated on a greenfield site close to the town centre, should be zoned ‘new residential’.

  The plan recommends that a further 3.3 hectares (8 acres) be zoned ‘strategic residential reserve’, which could be developed in the event of an unexpectedly high population growth and demand for housing.

  It is noted that several new residential estates have been built in recent years, and that there are currently two unfinished estates in the town.

  It is also noted that, as of last month, there were 133 vacant residential units in the area covered by the Castlerea Local Area Plan.

  The Draft Plan will be considered by councillors of the Roscommon Municipal District in the coming weeks and is due to be enacted later this year.