Affordable Housing There is a need for housing in Westport Town and in particular for affordable starter homes for younger people. These lands are ideally situated to provide such housing. The existing Westport Town and Environs Development Plan 2010–2016 requires that all of the Phase 1 lands be developed before development on the Phase 2 lands will be considered with Phase 3 then to follow Phase 2. Since the Development Plan was adopted very little of the Phase 1 lands have been developed which in turn has stymied the development of Phase 2 and Phase 3 lands. It is also noted that, planning permissions which have been previously granted on lands which are zoned Phase 1 were allowed to lapse which has further delayed the possibility of development on the Phase 2 and Phase 3 lands. As well as delaying the development of much need housing, this situation also has the effect of driving up land values with a consequent a negative effect on the affordability of housing in the town. For the reasons stated above, it is submitted that the subject lands should be zoned Phase 1 Residential High Density. Compact Growth/Regeneration Some of the existing Phase 1, 2 and 3 zoned lands are much further from the town centre than the subject lands which are within 500 metres of the Town Centre. The lands are bounded to the south, east and west by existing A1 Residential Phase 1 High Density residential areas and are ideally situated for compact urban ‘infill’ development. Good quality residential development on these lands will help to regenerate and invigorate the adjoining residential areas some of which are now over 60 years old. Infrastructure / Facilities The lands are in close proximity to existing infrastructure services and are ideally situated to provide sustainable residential development within easy walking / cycling distance of all workplaces, shops, schools, community facilities, amenities and the public transport corridors. Economic and Employment Because of Westport’s unique qualities it is recognised as a one of the most desirable places to live on the island of Ireland. This has resulted in an influx of holiday home owners and holiday home letting in the town. However, whilst this is good for the economy of the town, it in turn puts pressure on the availability of affordable housing for young people who wish to live and work in the town. Hence there is a need to make more lands available for development and to this end careful consideration of the desirability of phasing residential zoning is required having regard to the negative impacts outlined under the ‘Affordable Housing’ paragraph above. If this does not happen then people will be forced to live in other towns requiring them to travel by car to their place of work. This is not sustainable for the home owner, the employers or the environment. The subject lands are ideally situated to provide a sustainable solution, being within easy walking / cycling distance of most of the major employers in the town. Open Space & Amenity – Green Infrastructure In combination with a quality residential development and open space amenity on these lands there is another the opportunity to create a new green link to the Greenway similar to other residential areas in the town.