Chapter 3 – Development Strategy

Open15 Oct, 2022, 8:00am - 28 Nov, 2022, 5:00pm

3.1 Strategic Vision

The purpose of the Draft Caherconlish Local Area Plan is to set out the policies and objectives which will guide the sustainable future growth of the village between 2023-2029 and beyond and to ensure alignment with provisions of higher-level planning policy. The vision of the plan is to improve the local environment focusing on the sustainable growth of the built environment, employment generation, and the provision of community and social services together in a low carbon, compact, consolidated and connected pattern of development.

The strategic vision statement reads as follows:

‘The strategic vision for Caherconlish is to fulfil the role of a Level 3 settlement as identified in the Limerick Development Plan.  This will include the provision for growth in population and employment through a mix of quality residential development (choice and tenure), education and employment opportunities, sustainable mobility choice, a strengthened retail/commercial village centre, community infrastructure, active lifestyles and recreation choice, and sustaining Caherconlish’s unique heritage assets.  The future development of Caherconlish will provide for low carbon, sustainable and consolidated growth in a coherent spatial manner.’

3.2 Spatial/Development Strategy

The overall development strategy for Caherconlish, is to grow the population of Caherconlish in line with the Limerick Development Plan as a Tier 3 Settlement, by focusing growth within the village core and in doing so, supporting in the regeneration, repopulation and development of the village.  The future of Caherconlish is one where the quality of life and wellbeing of its inhabitants are enhanced, building a resilient and sustainable compact village, that supports improved local employment and economic activity, protects its local culture and heritage, while supporting the village’s transition to a low carbon society.

Overall Strategic Development Objectives

It is an objective of the Council to:

  1. Seek the sustainable intensification and consolidation of the existing built environment, in accordance with the objectives for compact growth in higher-level spatial plans through appropriate infill, brownfield development, supported by the necessary physical and community infrastructure.            
  2. Promote sustainable economic development, enterprise and employment opportunities and prioritise the village centre, as the primary location for retail and commercial activity.
  3. Promote and facilitate sustainable modes of transport, prioritising walking, cycling and public transport, whilst protecting and improving existing road infrastructure.
  4. Protect, conserve and enhance the built environment, through promoting awareness, utilising relevant heritage legislation and ensuring quality urban design principles are applied to all new developments, respecting historic and architectural heritage.
  5. Protect, enhance and connect areas of natural heritage, blue green infrastructure and open space for the benefits of quality of life and biodiversity, capitalising on climate change adaptation and flood risk measures.
  6. Ensure the highest quality of public realm and urban design principles apply to all new developments.
  7. Have cognisance to the Limerick Climate Change Adaptation Strategy 2019 - 2024, and any forthcoming climate adaptation and mitigation strategies that emerge during the lifetime of this plan.
  8. Guide the future development of Caherconlish, in accordance with the Town Centre First policy approach seeking to bring people and appropriate business/services back into the heart of Caherconlish through place-making, good quality urban design, and sustainable mobility as promoted by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and the Department of Rural and Community Development. 
  9. Ensure the future development of Caherconlish supports the transition to a low carbon society and economy, implementing national policy to reduce gas emissions, improve environmental quality and contribute to national targets for climate change

3.2.1 Population and Housing

The Core Strategy for Limerick, is set out in Chapter 2 of the Limerick Development Plan 2022-2028. Section 19 (2) of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended) requires that: “A Local Area Plan shall be consistent with the objectives of the Development Plan, its Core Strategy, and any Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy that apply to the area of the plan...”. The Limerick Development Plan promotes development of settlements to grow at an appropriate rate where both physical and social infrastructure keeps pace with population growth.

Caherconlish is identified for potential growth of 23%, which seeks to ensure that the development of the settlement in the village is in pace with the development of physical and social infrastructure. It also ensures the capacity of the village to accommodate the additional growth without damage to the settlement’s character and the carrying capacity of its environment and infrastructure.

3.2..2 Population Projections, Capacity and Residential Land Availability for Caherconlish 

Between the period 2006-2016, the population of the village experienced significant growth, which saw the population of the village grow by 110%. The Core Strategy of the Limerick Development Plan sets out the population growth in all settlements across Limerick. The Plan sets out residential units and zoned land requirements for each settlement, in accordance with the NPF, the Implementation Roadmap for the NPF and the RSES. The Limerick Development Plan is also informed by the Regional Demographics and Structural Housing Demand at County Level.

The following criteria was used to determine the growth allocation for Caherconlish within the lifetime of the Draft Plan.

- As determined by the Development Plan, the assumed population growth allocation for Caherconlish is an additional 339 persons to 2028, which equates to an additional 125 units. Draft Caherconlish Local Area Plan 2023-2029

- The provision of 146 units is realised by taking the proposed population growth per annum (125 units/6 years = 20.83 units per year), as outlined in the Core Strategy of the Limerick Development Plan, and multiplying this figure for a seven year period (from 2022-2029) as illustrated in Table 3.1 below. An assessment has been carried out to examine vacancy within each of the settlement boundaries and included in the calculations for residential purposes in Caherconlish. This equates to 2.8% vacancy (4 units). In addition, an extant planning permission exists within the village centre for 7 units.

3.2.2 Population Projections, Capacity and Residential Land Availability for Caherconlish



Limerick Development Plan

Additional Households Forecasted

2022-2028 for Caherconlish

125 units


Forecasted households per year (A)

20.83 units (A/6 year period from 2022-2028)


Forecasted households for years 2022-2029 for Caherconlish

146 units (B x 7 year period from 2022-2029)


Vacancy Q2 2022 Geodirectory

2.8% (4 units)


Extant Planning Permission

7 units granted town centre (Planning Ref. 21/550)


No. of new units required 2022-2029

135 units (C-(D+E))


New Residential @ 22 uph

135 @85% = 115 (5.22 ha)



Residential Serviced Sites @ 10uph

135 @15%* = 20 (2.085 ha)



Additional provision +25%

29 units (G x 25%)

@22uph =  1.31 ha


Total Land Required (Ha)

8.615 ha (G + H + I)

Table 3.1 Core Strategy Units Allocated

*In total, 8.615ha are zoned for residential development in the Draft Plan, on which, housing would generally be permitted. The 2012 plan made provision for 3.52ha of Serviced Sites however, no takeup of serviced sites has progressed to date.  Taking this into account, 15% of the total units allocated to Caherconlish is zoned for Serviced Sites while 85% of the total number of units are allocated to new residential. 

The Development Plan Guidelines for Planning Authorities published June 2022 allows for the inclusion of additional zoned serviced land and sites for residential uses (or a mixture of residential and other uses), than would equate to meeting precisely the projected housing demand set out in the Core Strategy for that settlement. The Guidelines outline that this approach ‘recognises that a degree of choice in development sites to be provided locally is desirable to avoid restricting the supply of new housing development through inactivity on a particular landholding or site’.  The guidelines require that this “Additional Provision” is clearly set out in the Core Strategy and it is identified, quantified and explained and should not exceed 20-25% of the required quantum of zoned land and sites in the settlement for any six year period. The Local Area Plan has identified an additional 25% of zoned land and this has been incorporated into the zoned sites for residential purposes within the plan.  

Justification for additional provision is as follows:

  • Two sites zoned New Residential are approved Housing Department Approved Pipeline Sites as set out under Limerick City and County Council’s Housing Delivery Action Plan 2022-2026
  • New Residential site No. 1 as set out in Table 10.3 (Settlement Capacity Assessment) is identified as an ‘Opportunity Site’ as it presents an opportunity to create compact growth and permeability between existing estates and could provide potential passive surveillance onto the Community Park.
  • New Residential site No. 4 as set out in Table 10.3 presents an opportunity to create permeability and connectivity from Ceol na Habhann into the village centre, including linkages to Caherconlish National School.

Census Pop. 2016

Additional households forecasted 2022-2029

Quantum of land required

Total Land zoned Serviced Sites

Total Land

zoned New Residential













Table 3.2: Projected Growth for Caherconlish

Caherconlish has a strong service function for its inhabitants and surrounding hinterland. Its level and diversity of services, community facilities and amenities, availability of serviced and serviceable lands, coinciding with its ease of access and proximity to Limerick City and suburbs and its connectivity to the national road network, further creates a settlement suitable to attract inward investment for future population growth, in accordance with the objectives of the NPF and RSES.  On this basis, the assumed scale of growth for Caherconlish is considered reasonable and will be progressed on lands including opportunity, infill and brownfield sites.

A Settlement Capacity Audit (SCA) accessing the key infrastructure available to the individual sites identified as suitable for the provision of residential development has been set out in Chapter 10. The SCA identifies the infrastructure necessary to support future development on lands that are serviceable. An indicative timeframe for the delivery of critical infrastructure i.e. short, medium or long term is also included.

3.3 Housing and Residential Development Strategy

One of the key objectives of the NPF, RSES and the Limerick Development Plan is to focus on the sustainable development and compact growth of urban areas, optimising the use of serviced lands by focusing development on infill, brownfield, backland and vacant/derelict sites and in doing so, maximising the viability of investment in social and physical infrastructure.  A key priority of the Department of Rural and Community Development’s Rural Development Policy 2021-2025 is the Town Centre First Approach that supports the regeneration, repopulation and development of rural towns and villages.  The Town Centre First Approach focuses on creating the conditions for individuals and families to live back into the heart of the towns and villages through place-making, good quality urban design and sustainable mobility. The Town Centre First Approach is outlined in more detail in Chapter 4.



Figure 3.1 - Image of Old School Building on Main Street

This Draft LAP aims to balance the provision of good quality housing, that meets the needs of a diverse population, in a way that makes Caherconlish an attractive and inviting place to live in. Caherconlish will cater for new housing to serve population growth and new household formation, in accordance with the population targets of the Core Strategy of the Limerick Development Plan as is outlined in Section 3.2.2. The Core Strategy identifies a requirement for 8.615ha. of land in order to accommodate planned growth, broken down into 22 units per hectare for 85% of dwelling units and 10 units per hectare for 15% of dwelling units proposed. Adequate housing provision is essential for the creation of an environment to attract business and enterprise to Caherconlish.

Policy DS P1: Development Strategy - It is policy of the Council to:

Deliver new residential development in accordance with the Core Strategy of the Limerick Development Plan 2022 – 2028, supporting a choice of quality housing, mixed tenure and unit size/type universally designed for ease of adaption to the lifecycle and mixed mobility needs.

Objective DS O1: Residential Development - It is an objective of the Council to:

  1. Require the use of Design Briefs, Masterplans, Sustainability Statements, Social Infrastructure Assessments and any other supporting documents deemed necessary to ensure the coherent planning of residential development.
  2. No one proposal for residential development shall increase the existing housing stock by more than 10 – 15% within the lifetime of the Plan, unless the applicant can demonstrate that the settlement has adequate capacity, in terms of both physical and social infrastructure to support additional growth
  3. Ensure all new residential layouts will prioritise walking and cycling, which are fully permeable for pedestrians and cyclists to access a range of local services and enable the efficient provision of public transport services.
  4. Ensure new residential development provides high quality public open space and play lots proportional to the number of residential units, having cognizance to accessibility, safety, permeability and public realm.

Objective DS O2: Residential Compact Growth - It is an objective of the Council to:

  1. Ensure that at least 30% of all new housing development is delivered within existing built-up areas and on infill, brownfield and backland sites.
  2. Consolidate existing development and increase existing residential density, through a range of measures including reductions in vacancy, re-use of existing buildings and infill development schemes.
  3. Ensure that in any proposed alterations to the streetscape of the town centre, adequate consideration is given to conservation, restoration and reconstruction, where it would affect the settings of protected structures, or the integrity of the nineteenth century streetscape
  4. Fig.3.2 Cois Riga Residential Housing Estate

3.3.2 Residential Development – Density, Housing Type and Mix

Caherconlish has experienced significant population change since 2002 and this Local Area Plan seeks to accommodate the future needs of the village in a consolidated manner. Planning policy requires Local Authorities to ensure a sequential approach to zoning land with a primary focus on the consolidation of settlement though zoning of lands within or contiguous to the village centre and within the existing built-up/zoned area of Caherconlish.  This LAP places a strong influence in ensuring the delivery of sustainable communities providing high quality, universally accessible residential developments with an appropriate mix of housing type, tenure, density and size, through the redevelopment of brownfield, infill, vacant and on greenfield sites having regard to principles of placemaking, permeability and integration of community and recreation facilities.

Fig. 3.3 Stone wall on entrance to Village from Beary’s’ Cross Direction

To cater for the projected population growth, a mix of dwelling types and sizes will be required to meet the housing needs of all members of the community, including the increased demand for smaller unit sizes/downsizing schemes. A statement to identify how this has been considered shall be submitted as a requirement for any planning application for housing development to demonstrate that consideration has been given by the developer to meet the demand for housing in Caherconlish.

The Council will be guided by the Government policy outlined in Sustainable Residential Development in Urban Areas: Guidelines for Planning Authorities (DECHG, 2009) and Urban Development and Building Heights: Guidelines for Planning Authorities (DHPLG, 2018) and any subsequent replacement Government policies.  The following densities shall apply to residential zoned land in Caherconlish:


Minimum Density

New and Existing Residential

22 units per hectare

Serviced Sites

10 units per hectare

Table 3.3 Density Standards

Objective DS O3: Density and New Residential Developments: It is an objective of the Council to:

Ensure that new and existing residential development complies with the residential density requirements as set out in Table 3.3.

3.3.3 Serviced Low-density Sites

In Caherconlish, zoning of land is included for the potential development of low-density serviced sites as alternative to the un-serviced one-off rural house in the open countryside.  These individual residential plots will have access to services, such as utility connections (water and sewerage), footpaths, lighting and are within walking distance of the village centre. The density shall generally be 10 housing units per hectare. Whilst individual house design on serviced sites is encouraged, the overall design of the scheme must be consistent in terms of boundary treatments and landscaping. A quantum of land (2.085ha) north of the village settlement on the access road from the direction of the N24 has been identified as ‘Serviced Sites’.

Objective DS O4: Serviced Sites - It is an objective of the Council to:

Permit serviced sites on appropriately zoned lands within the settlement boundary of Caherconlish, in line with requirements outlined in the Limerick Development Plan.  The Council requires a minimum net density of 10 dwelling units per hectare on lands zoned Serviced Sites.

3.3.4 Specialised Housing including Older Persons Housing, Assisted Independent Living and Traveller Accommodation

Specialised housing accommodates the needs of those that require specialised design and planning needs, such as older persons, disabled or mobility-impaired people.  Specialised housing also includes Traveller-specific accommodation.  The Local Authority will ensure that all new housing developments or retrofitting existing units, will be designed to the highest quality with respect to the principles of universal design and place making.  The provision of specialist housing should be integrated into the established or planning residential areas, well served by appropriate levels of infrastructure, within walking distance of shops, services, public transport, open space and based on the principles of universally design and age friendly public realm.  Consideration of the nature of the existing housing stock and existing social mix in the area will be considered and provision will be made to a range of new housing types, tenures and adaptability for all age groups and abilities. 

Limerick City and County Council has an adopted Traveller Accommodation Programme 2019-2024, which outlines the accommodation needs, policy and implementation measures to address the accommodation needs of the Traveller Community.  Objective HO O15 of the Limerick Development Plan, 2022-2028 outlines Limerick City and County Council’s objective to support the quantity and quality of delivery of traveller-specific accommodation with the relevant agencies, in accordance with the Traveller Accommodation Programme and any subsequent document. The current programme does not identify a requirement for specialised traveller accommodation in Caherconlish.

3.3.5 Social Housing

‘Housing for All - a New Housing Plan for Ireland’ is the government’s housing plan to 2030.  The plan includes ambitious actions to address homelessness, the provision of affordable housing and accelerating the delivery of social and affordable housing schemes. Part V of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended) is one of the means through which Limerick City and County Council can seek to address demand for social housing in Limerick. The Council works in partnership with the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and Approved Housing Bodies to deliver and manage social housing.

Objective DS O5: Social and Affordable Housing - It is an objective of the Council to:

Promote the provision of social and affordable housing in accordance with Part V of the Planning and Development Act, the Limerick Housing Strategy, the Housing Needs Demand Assessment, and government housing policy ‘Housing for All’ (2021), Limerick City and County Council’s Housing Delivery Action Plan 2022-2026 and any subsequent replacements thereof.