Donegal County Council in conjunction with GM Design is pleased to announce the publication of an exciting and visionary Regeneration Strategy and Action Plan for Ballyshannon Town Centre. It is a regeneration focused roadmap of key priorities and actions for the sustainable regeneration of Ballyshannon Town Centre to 2040 and beyond. The project is funded by Donegal County Council and is a result of collaboration with the local community, Donegal County Council and GM Design Associates.
Marking the final publication of the Regeneration Strategy and Action Plan, Cathaoirleach of Donegal Municipal District, local Councillor and Committee Member of the Ballyshannon Regeneration Group, Cllr. Barry Sweeny said, “We are delighted to reach this final stage to publish an ambitious and creative Regeneration Strategy and Action Plan for Ballyshannon Town Centre that imagines how the town centre can develop and improve over the next twenty years”. “I would like to congratulate all involved and acknowledge the vision of the consultants, GM Design, and the role the wider community played in helping to shape the Strategy in establishing an exciting road map for the town centre.” “Ballyshannon is distinctive in its built and cultural heritage and has a wealth of natural assets that have been recognised throughout the range of ideas, actions and projects identified within the Strategy & Action Plan, and through its implementation, the special significance of Ballyshannon will be enhanced to create an attractive and vibrant place for all to enjoy.”
The Regeneration Strategy and Action Plan identifies 23 key actions for the town centre spread across six principle themes including an improved visual connection with the River Erne, the revitalisation of the Mall Quay, the creation of walking and cycling loops including the Three Bridges Loop Walk/Cycle Way, a series of heritage-led streetscape enhancements, the promotion of Ballyshannon as a Heritage Town and Historic Town, the enhancement of economic opportunities through enterprise and employment creation, and the development of Ballyshannon as a ‘Green Town’. A number of actions have been developed to the preliminary concept design stage such as the transformation of the Market Yard into a central civic and interaction space, the revitalisation of the Gables as a social and commercial space, the redevelopment of the Millstone site to enable town centre living, and the redevelopment of the former Ballyshannon Bakery site with an appropriate mix of town centre uses.
The Regeneration Strategy and Action Plan is now available for all stakeholders to access and to work collaboratively to implement. Liam Ward, Director of Community Development and Planning Services outlined, “We will now promote the Regeneration Strategy widely across all our stakeholders such as the Department of Community and Rural Development, across Donegal County Councils Services and into our wider networks including the Diaspora network and the Public Participation Network so that we can capitalise on opportunities to implement actions collectively”. “Further to the recent investment in the built heritage of Ballyshannon through the Heritage Council’s Historic Town Initiative, the Council’s Regeneration and Development Team is actively developing the Ballyshannon Town Centre Regeneration Project funded by the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund, which will deliver on a number of the actions of the Regeneration Strategy & Action Plan and bring about major transformational change in the heart of the town to include for the reimagining of public spaces, the repurposing of derelict and vacant buildings and the development of a new riverside amenity.”
Jonny Stewart of GM Design Associates described the town saying “Ballyshannon is a special place with a strong community spirit, an attractive coastal and riverside setting, a unique built and cultural heritage, a successful festival and events offering, and an important strategic location as a ‘gateway’ to Donegal. This Strategy and Action Plan builds on all these assets and aims to unlock the great potential that the place has in an ambitious yet realistic and sustainable manner.” He added, “this is critical to guide future projects and funding and help to encourage exciting town centre initiatives across the public, private and community sectors.”