A new 576 unit 'fast track' residential scheme for Athlone is set to deliver €54.7 million in social housing for the area.

This follows An Bord Pleanala giving the green light on Wednesday to a joint venture between Westmeath County Council and a private developer to proceed with the €182 million scheme on a 17.64 hectare site one km north east of the town.

Under current regulations, developers are required to provide 10% of residential developments towards social housing.

However, arising from the joint venture, 30% of the scheme, or 174 units, is to be allocated towards social housing.

In planning documents lodged with the application, the developers, Alanna Homes and Roadbridge have put a price tag of €54m on social homes to be sold to the Council.

The entire Lissywollen Strategic Housing Development (SHD) scheme comprises of 285 houses and 291 apartments.

The 291 apartments are to be located in 16 blocks between two and five storeys in height.

The appeals board granted planning permission for the scheme after concluding that it will have a positive effect on the area due to the increased housing stock.

The board inspector in the case, Stephen Rhys Thomas concluded in his 102 page report that he is satisfied that the design and configuration of the apartment units are acceptable and will provide a decent standard of living for future occupants.

Mr Rhys Thomas also found that the proposed scheme is located on a well served suburban location close to a variety of amenities and facilities.

The board gave the scheme the green light after concluding that the proposed development would not seriously injure the residential or visual amenities of the area or of property in the vicinity.

The board also noted that the subject lands have the potential to deliver the identified population targets for Athlone.