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January NUI Galway Researchers Develop Village Plan for Moycullen
NUI Galway Researchers Develop Village Plan for Moycullen
Researchers from NUI Galway’s School of Geography, Archaeology and Irish Studies, together with Forbairt Pobail Maigh Cuilinn (Moycullen Community Development Association), have developed a people powered plan for the future development of the village. The Moycullen 2030 Village Plan project was funded by the Irish Research Council.
The village of Moycullen is set for change with a number of key infrastructural investments are due. A bypass of the village is set to commence in 2020, a new primary school will be built by 2022 and a dedicated cycleway in the form of the Connemara Greenway is due for completion in the same year. In all, 300 housing units have been granted permission within the village boundaries, and longer term infrastructural investments such as the planned ring road around Galway city will also have very real effects of the village. Conservative estimates would place these changes as at least doubling the population of the village by 2030.
Principal Investigator Dr Patrick Collins, Discipline of Geography at NUI Galway, said: “With funding from the Irish Research Council we were keen to test our methodology for people powered planning. Today’s publication is essentially the culmination of the wishes of a community, a document that was collectively authored by the people of a place.”
The project acted as an effort to plan from the bottom up rather than the top down. It also sought to identify a sustainable future for a village in the context of a rapidly urbanising Ireland.
Local Councillor Noel Thomas said: “The people of Moycullen were given a unique opportunity to develop a community based plan for their village, a plan that should play a very important role in the development of the upcoming Local Area Plan for Moycullen. The results are very impressive and clearly show that the residents of Moycullen want to see the village develop into the future, in a progressive and sustainable manner.”
The project commenced in June of 2019, over the course of six months it far exceeded initial targets and today’s publication reflected the wishes of close to half the population of the village (820 people). Key concerns from schooling and infrastructure to a climate resilient village were expressed.
“Ensuring the best possible representation was key. We employed a number of new methods such as the development of the Village Plan App. This augmented reality App helped people appreciate broad considerations from the environmental to the social and the commercial in planning for future development”, Dr Collins continued.
Interviews, face-to-face surveys, focus groups, online engagement and a public event enabled the most comprehensive public engagement ever undertaken in the village. Over the past two months Dr Collins and colleagues have been sifting through the results.
Dr Collins said: “What we have ended up with is an extremely coherent and well thought out plan. This plan not only reflects the desires of the people of a place, but abides by key issues facing us all. It is climate aware, it recognises the key principles of design-led planning and abides by county level and national planning documents.”
The Moycullen Village Plan 2030 forsees future development of the village that is guided by the three following principles:
- Community - universally recognised as a defining trait of the village, all development needs to be cognisant that any new building ensures the successful continuation into the future.
- Connectivity - future development of the village requires better connections. Moycullen needs to be better connected to the city and to its outstanding natural environs. Of importance is a growing village that connects its people in better ways.
- Collaboration - to achieve its full potential the future development of Moycullen must occur in an open, transparent and informed way. A community centred village requires community at the centre of its development.
Reflecting on the work, Peadar Mac Fhlannchadha of the Moycullen Community Development Association commented: “We are delighted to be involved with this innovative community study, we would hope that the community inputs will help in preserving Moycullen’s unique identity as it develops towards 2030. The facets of Community, Connectivity and Collaboration identified by the study need to be progressed ahead of the expected development of Moycullen, and we would look to the local authority and government agencies to recognise and action the Communities inputs.”
Key recommendations set forth include:
- The purchase of a derelict building in the village to act as a cultural/community hub.
- The development of a public park in the village that will accommodate the successful farmers market and also act as a new village centre.
- Bus connections and the completion of the Connemara Greenway are seen as important for the village to develop in an environmentally sustainable manner.
- Further recommendations include the branding of the village as the gateway to the environment and activity pursuits and a new forms of local governance for the village and its people.