A NOTICE published in the Irish Independent earlier this month should be of immense interest to Westport people concerned with the planning and development in and around the town, writes Padraig Burns.
The notice, by Mayo County Council, under the heading of Planning and Development Acts 2000 to 2017, informs the public that Mayo County Council intends to consider deciding to grant permission for a development by Portwest at the site of the old Pollexfens Mills, The Quay, Westport.
The proposed development contravenes materially the zoning objective (marina-related tourism) as contained in the Westport Town and Environs Development Plan 2010 to 2016.
If successful in their application, Portwest will develop their global headquarters at the site with the construction of an office building and cafe of approximately 2.705 sq m gross floor area.
The proposed building is predominantly four storeys in height, incorporating a single storey element to the west and a five-storey stair and lift core in the south east corner. The development also includes plans for a gym, showering facilities, a canteen and an ICT room. It allows for 91 car parking spaces and 30 covered bicycle spaces.
Members of the public are entitled to make their views known on the matter before August 29 next by way of a submission or an observation. They can be sent to Mary Killoran Coyne, Development Management Section, Mayo County Council, Áras an Chontae, Castlebar.
Pollexfens Mills, or Hall's Mill as it was often referred to locally, was opened in 1904 and was demolished in 2015. The mill was operational up until the 1960s. The Hughes Group owned it since 1995 and had shelved plans to build a hotel on the site.
The move to materially contravene the Westport Town and Environs Development Plan is sure to engage local people. The development, if it goes ahead, will be situated right beside the Point.
Apart from being home to a football pitch that caters for boys and girls, the Point has also seen a major increase in the numbers of people swimming there.
Locals have volunteered to tidy up the swimming area this summer and more and more people are revisiting their youth and spending afternoons and evenings there.
How any new development will impact on leisure time at the Point is as yet unclear. There are interesting times ahead.