Sligo must benefit from strategic development zone at Ireland West Airport

A South Sligo councillor says it’s important Sligo does all it can to ensure it benefits from a new strategic development zone being developed at Ireland West Airport Knock.

The draft planning scheme for the new zone was presented to a meeting of Mayo County Council yesterday (Monday).

The planning scheme provides an overall vision and a set of guiding pricniples for the SDZ area at the airport.

Strategic Development Zones were established in 2000.

Their purpose is to enable the government designate parcels of land that are of strategic importance so they can be fast-tracked through the planning process.

Most strategic development zones are in the Dublin region.

But the zone at Knock airport marks a new departure.

This is because of its rural location and the government’s acknowledgement of the importance of the airport in driving economic development in the north west.

The new SDZ at Ireland West Airport will provide for a new business and enterprise hub, with an emphasis on new businesses and industries requiring a link to the airport.

It will also facilitate hotel and conference facilities.

If built to full capacity, the zone could deliver more than 95,000 square metres of commercial, business and enterprise space; 44,000 square metres of aviation economic development and services; and 11,000 square metres of hotel accommodation and conference.

It will also have the potential to provide 4,200 people.

Mayo County Council is the lead agency in the development zone planning scheme.

However, a number of local authorities, including in Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal, have a 17.5% stake in Ireland West Airport.

Sligo Fine Gael Councillor Dara Mulvey says the South Sligo area adjoining Mayo will also benefit from the zone.