*Photograph: Joe Buckley

COMMUNITY INPUT is key to make a mooted masterplan for Newmarket-on-Fergus a success.

Local authority officials have confirmed that Newmarket-on-Fergus is earmarked as an area that will have a masterplan devised in the near future.

Presently, a town centre first masterplan is underway for Sixmilebridge. Acting senior planner in Clare County Council, Helen Quinn stated, “The locations and programming of further town centre first masterplanning exercises have not been identified to date. However, it is intended that Newmarket-on-Fergus would be the next recommended location for such a masterplanning exercise within the Shannon Municipal District area”.

Citing “a large number of enquiries from individuals, various organisations and voluntary bodies,” Cllr Pat McMahon (FF) requested the Council to draw up a masterplan for Newmarket-on-Fergus. Speaking at a recent sitting of the Shannon MD, he described such a document as “vital for our future” and added, “local organisations want to know about the future of Newmarket-on-Fergus”.

He referred to plans to upgrade the treatment plant in the village which would allow the construction of an additional 2,500 to 3,000 housing units into the future. “It is vital to have a masterplan that fits into a natural forum so that they can plan into the future. The normal focus would be where housing is already situated and try rectify that”.

Seconding the request, Cllr John Crowe (FG) noted the volume of work ongoing with the Sixmilebridge plan. “We’re hoping it will mean a big bonus for the town. We’re adjacent to Newmarket-on-Fergus with a similar size, I’d hope that Newmarket-on-Fergus would be next in line to get a masterplan. It’s only after starting in Sixmilebridge in the last couple of months and you can see the activity and amount of works undertaken”.

According to Cllr PJ Ryan (IND), “a masterplan is very beneficial to any town or village. There are two types of a masterplan, one initiated by the community council or Tidy Towns which happened in Sixmilebridge, there is funding available through CLDC and other sources, the major one is the one initiated by the local authority”. He added, “Newmarket-on-Fergus certainly needs a masterplan at the minute, there is a huge amount of development gone on there and a lot of funding collected for it, it is only right that it is put back into masterplan. The community have a part to play, that is essential, they should put their plan forward to tie in with the masterplan”.

Having been involved with numerous masterplans for the town of Shannon, Cllr Gerry Flynn (IND) issued a note of caution, “be careful what you wish for”. He said, “Without the buy-in and hard work of a community or local councillors, you can end up with a bad document. We ended up with a very poor first draft of our €100,000 masterplan in Shannon, I did a lot of work going to constituents last August with a face mask on during a time of restrictions and we ended up with a much more palatable document. A planner can be given the brief but they may not be familiar with the area, without community input you can end up with plan that is not fit for purpose”.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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