Major plan announced for a town which is exceptionally rich in heritage

"Ramelton is one of the best-preserved historic towns in the northwest of Ireland" - Duncan McLaren, of Dedalus Architecture

Major plan announced for  a town which is exceptionally rich in heritage

A new plan which has been developed in consultation with the local community will support the renewal and regeneration of a town and create a distinctive sense of place.

Donegal County Council in conjunction with Dedalus Architecture recently announced the publication of the Ramelton Action Plan - A Study of Heritage Led Actions for Renewal and Regeneration.

The project is funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme and is the result of collaboration with the local community, Donegal County Council and Dedalus Architecture.

The richly built heritage in Ramelton sets it apart from many other places in the country and is potentially Ramelton’s ‘Unique Selling Point’.

International research has shown the value of heritage to economic and social well-being therefore this initiative is a first and really important step in safeguarding our very special and unique asset.

It is intended that the Plan will provide assistance to a wide range of public and private stakeholders such as landowners, business owners, local community groups, statutory bodies and public authorities.  

The document defines a vision for the town’s future and sets out a range of ideas, actions and projects that if implemented will reap long term benefits for the conservation of the character of the town and secure a vibrant future for Ramelton.

Cathaoirleach of Letterkenny Municipal District, Cllr Donal Coyle emphasised the significance of the Ramelton Action Plan to the local community, saying: ‘The Ramelton Action Plan demonstrates a truly collaborative approach between Donegal County Council and the people of Ramelton who are central to the successful delivery of the actions of the Plan, which are designed to fulfil its potential as an incredibly valuable and unique heritage asset and are fundamental to the town’s future’.

The publication of the plan is particularly timely in light of the recent allocation of funding to the Ramelton Historic Town Centre - A Restorative & Transformational Public Realm Scheme under the recent call of the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund (RRDF), administered by the Department of Rural and Community Development.

The funding received will enable the procurement of expert consultancy services to allow for further development of the project to take place through planning, public consultation and detailed design stages to a shovel ready capital project. The project proposes to deliver on a number of the identified priority actions of the Ramelton Action Plan which includes for the development of the key public spaces and places within the historic town centre with a common transformational theme.

Speaking about the Ramelton Action Plan, Liam Ward, Director of Community Development and Planning Services with Donegal County Council said: ‘This is an ambitious, longer-term collaborative Action Plan for Ramelton that will transform the urban fabric through public realm improvements and heritage restoration.

"It will contribute to a more attractive place for residents and visitors and will support and incentivise existing and prospective business, enterprise, community and voluntary activities in the renewal of the town in a sustainable manner’.

The Author of the plan, Duncan McLaren, of Dedalus Architecture, said: "Ramelton is one of the best-preserved historic towns in the northwest of Ireland; unique both in terms of the survival and rarity of its individual 18th and 19th-century houses and vernacular industrial buildings and the varied townscape that is created by these structures within their landscape setting. The Action Plan will assist and support the local community in providing heritage-led guidance and dedicated actions  for the regeneration, repair and future  development of the town in an environmentally responsible manner that will  preserve and enhance these special qualities for the 21st century."

Chairperson of the Ramelton Regeneration Group, Joe Birney, describes the role of the group in delivering the actions of the plan as critical, saying: "The Group is strongly committed to restoring and preserving the town’s unique heritage with their key objective being to combat further degradation in respect of the current state and decline of Ramelton.

"The Ramelton Action Plan provides a platform for this to be achieved and presents a significant and timely opportunity to launch an integrated and targeted approach to transformational regeneration that will enhance the special significance of the town and its setting in the longer term."

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