Land Development Agency launches Columb Barracks Consultation

STATEMENT BY THE LAND DEVELOPMENT AGENCY

The Land Development Agency (LDA) has today launched an extensive phase of Public Consultation on the future development potential of the Columb Barracks site. The consultation, which runs until July 16th 2021, will aim to identify complementary uses for the site in addition to the housing which the LDA will develop there.

The consultation will include a Community Liaison Team, project website, survey and meetings with local elected representatives, local stakeholders, community and resident groups. It aims to reach as many stakeholders as possible from community, business, arts, culture, sports etc along with any organisations and individuals who wish to give ideas, or feedback contributing to the vision.

This is a very early-stage consultation which will help shape an outline plan for the area. There will be further phases of consultation in advances of a final design and planning application.

Columb Barracks is situated in the heart of Mullingar, 800m west of the main street and 500m from Mullingar train station. The Barracks closed in 2012 and much of the site has been unused since. The total site is 9.9 hectares.

The LDA invited local groups to join a Columb Barracks Advisory Group in January 2021. This brought together Westmeath County Council, The Public Participation Network of Westmeath County Council, Mullingar Chamber of Commerce, Longford Westmeath Education and Training Board, Enterprise Ireland and the Land Development Agency. The Columb Barracks Advisory Group will play a key role in driving the consultation.

The initial LDA concepts for the regeneration plan include a mix of housing, community use, education and enterprise. The project regeneration plan will be based around the most up-to-date principles of design and building innovation to ensure the scheme is socially, environmentally and commercially sustainable for the long term. The final concepts will sensitively incorporate the heritage of the barracks, preserving it for future generations. The regeneration plan will seek to incorporate the views of local stakeholders, understanding that there may be many different ideas for the site within the local community.

The site of 9.9 hectares has good access to educational, community and retail facilities, as well as public transport provision in the form of multiple bus services and the Train Station.

Peter Burke TD, Minister of State responsibility for Local Government and Planning, said: "I welcome the partnership between the LDA and Westmeath County Council to develop the Columb Barracks site in conjunction with members of our community.  I have had a number of productive meetings with the LDA over recent months in relation to the site and see their desire to deliver a flagship project for the midlands.  Columb Barracks plays an important role in our identity as residents of Mullingar and it is imperative that the structures are protected and maintained for the benefit of the community.   I am confident in the commitments given by the LDA that the site will have an important role to play in our community for years to come.

Robert Troy TD, Minister of State with responsibility for Trade Promotion, said: "The re-imagining of the Columb Barracks site begins with the local community.  This site presents a number of options, from housing to community space to enterprise creation.  Local stakeholders will play an important role in determining the development of the site.  I would encourage the people of Mullingar to engage in this process with the LDA and Westmeath County Council.  I would also like to congratulate the LDA and the Columb Barracks Advisory Group on their work to date. The redevelopment of this important cultural and historical site is something that will benefit the whole of the community, the town and further afield. Given its high potential, I hope to see an ambitious and timely redevelopment that leverages every opportunity the Columb Barracks site presents. This can only be done in collaboration with all stakeholders.

Cllr John Shaw, Westmeath County Council elected representative on the Columb Barracks Advisory Group, said: “Westmeath County Council are proud to take a leadership role in the Columb Barracks Project, working in partnership with the LDA. The Columb Barracks Advisory Group has already brought together many stakeholders to begin an open and inclusive process which we hope will engage the whole community. I look forward to working with community leaders to map out a vison for the Barracks site.”

Pat Gallagher, chief executive of Westmeath County Council, said: “The Columb Barracks project offers an opportunity to create a best-in-class development for the people of Mullingar and Co. Westmeath. The Council’s Mullingar Local Area Plan has identified the Columb Barracks site as a Major Regeneration Opportunity site, with supporting policies and objectives to secure its appropriate regeneration and redevelopment. Westmeath County Council is pleased to be working with the Land Development Agency in the preparation of this exciting regeneration masterplan.”

Phelim O’Neill, head of Property with the Land Development Agency, said: “The Land Development Agency is tasked with coordinating land within State control for more optimal uses where appropriate, with a focus on the provision of housing. In doing so, we work with communities to engage them in helping to participate in the process. We are delighted to launch this public consultation and to seek the views of the people of Mullingar on this exciting project.”

It is anticipated that the consultation will identify many potential uses for the site. These will help inform the design team in creating a regeneration plan for the site.

Further details of the consultation are available on the project website, www.columbbarracksproject.ie

ENDS

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