The strategic importance of Drogheda, both as a major urban area in its own right and as part of the Dublin-Belfast Corridor/Drogheda-Dundalk-Newry network, is recognised in the National Planning Framework and more recently in the Regional Spatial & Economic Strategy (RSES) for the Eastern and Midlands Region.
Given the cross-boundary element to Drogheda, straddling the Louth/Meath border, the 2017 Drogheda Boundary Review Committee report recommended the implementation of a new programme of structured cooperation between Louth and Meath County Councils to develop an innovative governance system for the town, involving a range of measures including:
- A joint Local Area Plan for the greater Drogheda area;
- A joint retail strategy for the town;
- A review of service delivery of all LA services and functions;
- An analysis of the services delivered by other bodies, including any recommendations for delivery on a “whole of town” basis.
The Eastern and Midlands Region RSES reinforces the recommendations for cross-boundary co-operation through a Joint Urban Area Plan (UAP) to be prepared by Louth and Meath County Councils. The RSES also envisages an enhanced role for Drogheda as a strategic employment centre on the Dublin-Belfast Economic Corridor through identification of suitable sites for new industry.
My Department recently wrote to Louth and Meath County Councils regarding the implementation of the recommendations of the Drogheda Boundary Review. In its response, Louth County Council outlined the significant cooperation underway and planned, now that the RSES has been largely finalised and attention can turn to county development and local area planning.
In terms of resources, the Council highlighted that an implementation team comprising the senior management teams of both counties has been established. This team, which is jointly chaired by the two chief executives, meets regularly to monitor progress. Two cross-county teams on Strategy and Operations have also been put in place.
Following on from the correspondence, my Department has been in contact with Louth County Council regarding the administrative support in place to drive the implementation of the NPF/RSES and the Boundary Review Report and to support the Drogheda Municipal District. The Council is considering this further, in consultation with my Department.