Cllr. Laurence Fallon has called for immediate action to be taken to ensure the Roscommon side of Athlone is allowed to grow to reach its maximum potential under the National Planning Framework.
Cllr. Fallon, who has confirmed he will be a candidate in this May’s local election, explained that despite Athlone being designated as a centre of growth under the NPF, County Roscommon “is not being given an adequate proportion of the projected population to allow Athlone to reach its maximum potential”.
Speaking on the issue recently Cllr. Fallon stated that the designation of Athlone as a growth centre was “hard won” and added: “without the population to go with it this will be of no significance”.
He praised the cooperation received from the Westmeath side of Athlone, stating: “The problem isn’t with the other side of Athlone, it is with the Western Regional Authority. The plan isn’t being taken to the next level to allow the growth to take place.
“We need to make every effort we can to ensure we get a fair balance. It is unforgivable that they are inclined to grow places like Sligo and Galway that already have serious traffic problems and serious pollution problems caused by congestion and yet we have adequate space and adequate opportunity with good infrastructure and we aren’t being given adequate opportunity to grow.
“Whatever effort is needed in the next two months to remedy this situation needs to be put in place because this will lay the foundations for how we develop in the next 30 years and we wouldn’t want to miss this opportunity. We wouldn’t want to settle with the idea that we have saved Roscommon and Athlone simply by making it a growth centre. It is critical that we take all steps necessary to ensure we have adequate ability to grow”.