Castlepollard - Photo by Anna Allen

‘Town Centre First’ status will benefit Castlepollard

Castlepollard is one of 26 towns from across the country selected for the second round of the government’s Town Centre First initiative.

The programme aims to tackle vacancy and dereliction and each town has been allocated €30,000 to complete a comprehensive town plan.

Speaking after Minister Heather Humphreys announced the inclusion of Castlepollard, Minister Peter Burke said it will bring significant benefit to the area.

The Fine Gael man said that the Castlepollard Town Centre First plan will be developed in consultation with the community. It will represent the vision of local people and will contain proposals for a diverse range of projects such as redeveloping derelict sites, creating community parks and paths, boosting SME and tourism potential, and protecting historical landmarks.

“We know that communities are at the heart of rural Ireland, and the Town Centre First Plan is all about empowering people, including in Castlepollard, to develop a vision for their towns that can make them better places to live, work, invest in and enjoy. I am glad the consultations process with the community has already started in Castlepollard and I look forward to seeing progress on the plan.

“We need to tackle vacancy and dereliction in our towns and villages and this plan will address the issues and identify solutions.”

The news has also been welcomed by Stephen O’Brien, chair of Castlepollard Local Development*, and a sectoral representative on the recently established Castlepollard Town Team.

Mr O’Brien says inclusion in the second phase of the Town Centre First Plan “dovetails nicely” with the establishment of the town team.

“One of the first tasks of the town team is to create a vision for the town, in terms of the derelict and vacant buildings, and improving the public realm to make Castlepollard a more attractive place to live and work.

“I know the funding is now there to conduct the necessary surveys and to hopefully to create a vision with a project in mind to draw down large scale funding.”

One of the key things that Castlepollard Local Development would like to see in the coming years is a new beginning for the St Peter’s campus, which is currently in the ownership of the HSE, that would benefit the wider community.

“We want to secure a viable future for the St Peter’s. It is a substantial plot of land. One of the options is the idea that it could house a third level further education centre and considering its size of the plot it has the potential for other uses too.”

2024 03 08 Westmeath Examiner

We are pleased to announce that Stephen O’Brien, chairperson of Castlepollard Local Development, has been elected to chair the new “Town Team” initiative.