Mayo County Council has appointed McCarthy Keville O’Sullivan, environmental and planning consultants, to develop a plan around the joint development of Castlebar and Westport.
The key objective is to develop a feasibility strategy combining the joint development of both growth centres into a focal point in order to attract foreign direct investment and employment in the region and, as a result, advance integrated economic development in Co. Mayo.
Welcoming the feasibility plan, the Mayo County Council Cathaoirleach, Councillor Blackie Gavin, stated: “Combining the strengths of Castlebar, Mayo’s main shopping and administrative town, and the tourism town of Westport into one economic centre for trade and development allows us to work with a lot more agencies, like the IDA, to sell Mayo to foreign investors.”
Mayo County Council director of services for planning, economic and community development, Catherine McConnell, added: “Already Castlebar and Westport are socially and economically interlinked and the enhancement of the N5, which will be under construction shortly, will reduce the travel time between both to 10 minutes.
“It makes socio-economic sense to combine the strengths of both vibrant towns with distinct characteristics to create a joint entity with critical mass of a scale similar to other regional growth centres. This will assist the IDA and other development agencies to attract serious interest and potential investment that will in turn create jobs in the region.”
The team of consultants will assess the following: the national and regional development policy context and the potential of such a strategy to influence the emerging Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy (RSES); consideration of the Atlantic Economic Corridor and the role of the joined towns in same; identify examples of international best practice of strategies for the joint growth of towns of similar scale and proximity as Castlebar and Westport; and identify and liaise/consult with stakeholders, including Mayo County Council, Chambers of Commerce, IDA/EI, Mayo PPN, etc.
The public will have the opportunity to find out more and express their opinion at community consultation meetings in the coming weeks.