A SIX-YEAR plan for Shannon has been unveiled by Clare County Council today, and includes measures aimed at increasing the town’s tourism potential.
The Shannon town and environs local area plan is the first stand-alone town plan for the area, and was launched at Shannon International Airport. It aims to guide the future growth and development of the area over six years.
Among the objectives are a “strong and vibrant town centre”, maximising the potential from Shannon’s location on the Estuary, increasing its tourism potential, and establishing Shannon as a low carbon town.
It also looks at trying to increase the current population of 9,673 to 11,972, by providing sufficient zoned land.
Town Mayor Michael Fleming described the Plan as a “unique blueprint” for the future economic and social development of the town and surrounding community. Clare Mayor Pat Daly acknowledged members of the local community who had contributed to the formulation of the plan during public consultation.
Gordon Daly, senior planner at Clare County Council, said that for the first time since the town was established during the 1960s, clear objectives to establish Shannon as a tourism destination in its own right have been set out. The plan includes the development of an aviation museum at Shannon Airport, as well as an improved aircraft viewing point.
The aim is to build on existing facilities such as Atlantic Air Venture and Ballycasey Craft and Design Centre. The plan also identifies a site at Illaunagowan point on the Shannon estuary close to the centre of the town for a potential tourist/interpretative development associated with the Shannon Estuary.
The plan also aspires to Shannon becoming a low carbon town and has zoned a site for enterprise in Stonehall to have a particular focus on renewable energy. It will also focus on “Green Infrastructure”, which comprises the network of open spaces, recreation areas, wildlife corridors and water bodies that intersperse the town and surrounding areas.
The plan includes a cycling strategy and proposals for enhancing walks, including along the Shannon Estuary.
A 2,000-acre landbank adjacent to the airport has been marked for zoning for aviation sector use, as part of the council’s vision for the development and expansion of Shannon Airport.
Last week, the Government announced it has decided to grant Shannon Airport full independence from Dublin Airport Authority on December 31 2012 and merge it with a restructured Shannon Development to form a new, publicly-owned, commercial entity in 2013.
The Shannon Town & Environs Local Area Plan is available to download from the Council’s website.