A new housing quarter for up to 1,500 people and the establishment of a country park are among the proposals in a new plan for the historic village of Slane, Co Meath.
The plan, which was presented to locals at a meeting last night, envisages the restoration of the Boyne Valley canal allowing the village to be linked with nearby Newgrange, and the creation of a local museum in the town.
Elsewhere, it suggests that a computer link could be established with the Newgrange interpretive centre, allowing tourists to avail of a shuttle bus service to the Newgrange monument.
The "village design statement", which was undertaken on behalf of the Slane Community Forum by Prof Philip Geoghegan of UCD, calls for a number of derelict or neglected buildings in the town to be the subject of conservation works.
Commenting on the proposals, Prof Geoghegan said high traffic volumes were destroying "the fabric of the village".
"It is astonishing that the N2 still goes through one of the most remarkable crossroads in Ireland," he said.
"While the fact that a bypass has been proposed is welcome, there is a need for a commitment to a timetable.
"It amazes me that in the absence of the bypass, there haven't been any measures introduced to restrict the access of heavy traffic to Slane."
Any development of a new quarter would be aimed at "invigorating" the village and should not lead simply to the creation of a commuter village, Prof Geoghegan said.
Slane Community Forum is a collection of community groups, clubs and associations set up to address what locals say is a serious decline in the numbers of visitors to the village, and the closure of a number of shops and businesses.
The Irish Times