Strategic Development Zone at Ireland West Airport Knock heralds new opportunity for the West Region

Posted in Connect on September 9, 2019.


Mayo County Council Planning Department will present the draft Planning Scheme for a new Strategic Development Zone at Ireland West Airport Knock, at the September Council meeting, taking place later today.

The purpose of the planning scheme is to set out an overall vision and set of guiding principles for the SDZ area. It will serve as a design framework for the future development of the lands in and around Ireland West Airport Knock.

Strategic Development Zones were established in 2000 to enable Government to designate certain parcels of land that are considered of strategic national importance, to be fast tracked through the planning process. Ireland West Airport Knock received approval for the designation of lands for the establishment of an SDZ by order of the government in May 2017.

To date, 10 areas within the State have been designated as SDZs. Most of these are located within the Dublin Metropolitan Region. The SDZ at Ireland West Airport Knock marks a new departure, given its rural location and the strong economic focus of the designation to facilitate enterprise and business development in tandem with the growing transport role and needs of the airport. In this regard, the proposed zone demonstrates a strong commitment by Government to the importance of Ireland West Airport Knock as a critical driver of regional economic development in the North West.

The proposed SDZ will provide for a new business and enterprise hub. This will be in the form of a campus aiming to cultivate and establish new business and innovative industries that harnesses the benefits of living and doing business in the West of Ireland. There will be an emphasis on those requiring a link to the airport.  It will facilitate hotel and conference facilities that complement the business climate of the airport location.

The SDZ Scheme, if built out to full capacity, could deliver 95,025sq.m of Commercial, Business & Enterprise space, 44,000sq.m of Aviation Economic Development & Services, and 11,000sq.m of Hotel Accommodation & Conference floorspace. It will have the potential to deliver future employment capacity of almost 4,200 persons.

Ireland West Airport Knock is a key driver of the (AEC) Atlantic Economic Corridor – centrally positioned and serving the North West region as a hub for international travel. The SDZ will further enhance the potential of the AEC in the North West and help to increase its potential to function as a cohesive model for balanced regional economic development.

Peter Hynes, Chief Executive at Mayo County Council stated; “Having a Strategic Development Zone of national significance based at Ireland West Airport Knock opens up a variety of opportunities for the county and the West region. Very few areas are given SDZ designation outside of major cities. Making this planning scheme creates opportunities for Mayo and the region to attract business and investment.

 The SDZ will secure the long-term development of Ireland West Airport Knock as well as attracting enterprise to the area and the provision of further employment possibilities for the people of Mayo and beyond.”

 County Councillors will consider the planning scheme and the public submissions received relating to same at the September meeting. The planning scheme for the SDZ will come into effect four weeks from the date it is made/agreed by elected members of Mayo County Council.

Arthur French, Chairman, Ireland West Airport, addedThe airport welcomes the progress made in relation to the Strategic Development Zone at Ireland West Airport. We would like to thank Mayo County Council for their work to date and in working with the airport on the development of the Master plan required to complete the zoning and we look forward to the completion of the project which will provide planning certainty for potential developments that may take place at the airport in the future’

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