A design image showing what part of the Loughanskin area of Athlone might look like in the future if the draft masterplan proposals come to pass.

Plans for new 'urban quarter' in Athlone go on display

The public's views are being sought on proposals for "a new urban quarter" that aims to completely transform an area close to the town centre of Athlone.

A mixture of "diverse" urban housing units, offices, and recreational space is being proposed for Loughanaskin, the land in and around the former St Mel's Terrace at Grace Park Road.

"This future vision for Loughanaskin will deliver a best-in-class employment destination balanced by a vibrant new urban living quarter that will transform and futureproof this area of Athlone," said Westmeath County Council official David Jones.

The regeneration of this part of Athlone has been mooted for years, and this week a new phase of public consultation was launched on the 'proposed Masterplan concept' for the locality.

The proposals include an eye-catching ‘high line’ elevated walkway through the area, which would create “a pedestrian friendly connection between the town centre and Old Rail Trail greenway.”

The residential element would aim to provide “a mix of urban house types to help diversify local housing provision,” while “flexible” and mixed-use commercial office spaces are proposed.

The draft plan also includes a "St Mary's Gateway" which would "act as a threshold entrance space" to the area, and would offer "modest community and cultural uses."

A website for the project is now live at loughanaskin.ie and it includes a computer-generated video showing how dramatically different this area might look in the future should these proposals come to pass.

Another design image showing what the Loughanaskin area could look like in the future.

The project received funding under the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund, and the Dublin-based planning consultancy firm Turley was hired by the council to work on it. It was stated that the proposals for the area were "informed by international and national best practice."

Two online webinars on the project took place early last year, and now the new phase of public consultation will include a drop-in public information event at Athlone Civic Centre on Thursday next, May 26, from 3pm to 7pm.

At this event, the proposals for the area will be presented and members of the project team will be available to listen to comments and answer questions from the public.

People are also invited to take part in a short survey about the masterplan proposals on the project website.

The survey takes approximately 10 minutes to complete and it can be filled out on the site between now and Thursday, June 9.