10,000 new residents and 1,000 new jobs
Hubert Murphy reports from Colpe on an ambitious new development that will help city status
Inside 20 years, up to 10,000 extra people will be living between Colpe and Donacarney, with the infrastructure to match it.
That will include a new train station, linking to MacBride station, a footbridge across the railway line from school developments into Grange Rath and a new road, linking the Donacarney road with the Marsh Road.
And the good news is added to by the fact that part of the new road will be well advanced by Christmas of this year, taking a lot of traffic away from the Mill Road.
It will mean that Scoil an Bhradain Feasa will now be accessed from the rear, rather than the Mill Road.
The new secondary school will go on a site close to it. That is under discussion with the Dept of Education.
The 350 acre development also includes an industrial area, capable of creating a workforce of 1,000.
Already there are reports that major players have shown an interest in being part of project.
For Phil Reilly from Shannon Homes, this dream is 20 years in the making.
'It is a 20-year goal, but it's huge for this area,'he stated.
The initial stages of the project, granted permission last year, are the new road and the office centre. They are presenting working on a 350 home development, rising to 2,500 over the length of the project.
Brendan Byrne said the plan will aid Drogheda's city ambitions as it brings both people and jobs.
'We want people to be able to live and work here,' he stated.
In the next few weeks, the 550 strong workforce at the Southgate Centre will rise by 85 with the new TUSLA offices opening.
Phil Reilly also paid tribute to auctioneer Tommy Byrne for his great assistance down the years, Tommy selling Hillview in the mid 70s, the first of the Shannon Homes schemes in the town.
Over 40 years later, 2,600 Shannon Homes have been completed, from Westcourt on the Termonfeckin Road to Grange Rath.
He said they had a 'great team' at Shannon Homes and everyone has played their part
Cathaoirleach of Meath CC, Wayne Hardng, attended the launch and said that he was delighted to see that the plans included the infrastructure to go with it.
'The key is that the infrastructure is going in first and that's vital.'
He was on hand to turn the sod on the new road, granted the go ahead by the council last year.
'Sustainable development is what we need and this road will certainly help the two schools in the area. It will be great to see the initial part of it completed by Christmas.'
He also said that he welcomed the percentage of social housing as part of the Part 5 housing plan for the area.
His fellow councillor, Stephen McKee, also attended and he was happy to see the joined up thinking behind the project. 'We need footpaths in this area and that's vital for children going to the schools. The infrastructure is there with this development.
'This will open up the whole area and alleviate the traffic on the Mill Road. The new business element must also be welcomed.'