Save ‘great cultural and heritage asset’

Opposition to rezoning of Edenville House

The suggestion that the landmark Edenville House/Black’s House in Roscommon town could be rezoned for housing is attracting strong opposition.

Cllr. Orla Leyden has already expressed her “great concern” at any move to change the zoning, while Roscommon Town Team has this week also gone public on its opposition to any such proposal.

Edenville House, in Lisnamult, is a protected structure which dates from 1702, when it was built as a Cavalry Barracks.

Cllr. Leyden says Roscommon County Council has asked Roscommon Municipal District councillors to consider a change of zoning from Community and Education to Housing so that an approved housing body can develop housing in Edenville House and on the general site, through a material contravention of the Town Plan.

Cllr. Leyden said she is “greatly concerned” by Roscommon County Council’s suggestion to change the zoning “without public consultation”. She described Edenville House as “a rich cultural and heritage asset” and says the existing proposal by Roscommon Town Team that it be developed as a visitor attraction is a much better idea.

Cllr. Leyden noted that the Roscommon Town Plan 2023-2029 went out for Pre-draft Public consultation with an Issues Paper in summer 2022 and the draft plan is due out on public consultation in spring 2023.

She stressed that in the interest of good planning and democratic decision-making it is vital that the public, in the first instance, know when a change to zoning is being mooted – and secondly that they have the opportunity to make submissions on any proposed change.

“Good planning involves full open and transparent consultation. It is not rushed. Decisions cannot be allowed to be made by a few people behind closed doors. Zoning decisions in our town that affect the community must be informed by that community”.

Cllr. Leyden said she will categorically oppose any proposal to remove the current zoning status, adding  that housing needs to be developed on lands zoned for housing.

The councillor said that what is required at Edenville House and grounds is a project that will match its Community and Education zoning. Cllr. Leyden added that Roscommon County Council are fully aware of a proposal of Roscommon Town Team to develop a project at Edenville House that is in keeping with its current zoning.

“Edenville House offers a fantastic opportunity to develop a visitor attraction, much-needed community space for a growing town, craft development space, circular economy employment and potentially the development of a regional Rediscovery Centre for the North-West. This would not only generate employment in the circular economy but also create jobs in the tourism sector and create a new visitor experience in the county town”.

Cllr. Leyden said that Roscommon Town Team are awaiting the next round of LEADER funding to apply for funding for a Feasibility Study for the project which if granted “would include full public consultation to ensure the best outcomes for the community”.