Chapter 1 Introduction
The Local Area Plan (LAP) is a legal document consisting of a public statement of Limerick City and County Council’s planning policies for the Croom area. This plan, as adopted will replace the Croom LAP 2009-2015 (as extended). The aim of the LAP is to establish a framework of the planned, coordinated and sustainable development of the Croom area, including the conservation and enhancement of its natural and built environment over the next six years and beyond. The LAP provides guidance as to how this development can be achieved, what new developments are needed, where public and private resource inputs are required and guidance for development proposed in the plan area for the next 6 years.
The plan includes the review of the Croom LAP 2009-2015 (as extended), taking into account recent key development trends and national, regional and local policy developments.
All development in the Croom area will be assessed against the contents of this LAP and the current Limerick County Development Plan 2010 – 2016 (as extended).
The Croom LAP should be read in conjunction with the Limerick County Development Plan 2010-2016 (as extended) and any subsequent review thereof. Unless otherwise stated, the general development plan policies, objectives and development management standards still apply to the area.
1.2 Plan Area
The Croom LAP covers approximately 150.94 hectares in area and is partially contained within 5 small areas (SAPS) as set out in the Census of Population. It is also contained with the Electoral Division of Croom. The town is located on the western bank of the River Maigue, off the N20 national road between Limerick City and Charleville at a distance of approximately 22km south of Limerick. The town comprises of two principal streets, Main Street and Bridge Street, with a smaller network of streets branching off. The street plan is linear with Main Street running parallel to the river and Bridge Street running perpendicular to the south.
1.2.1 Historical Context
Evidence has been found of pre-Christian and early Christian settlement in Croom. In 1215 the castle of Croom was granted to the Fitzgerald’s of Kildare and subsequently became one of their principal manors. The settlement may have acquired borough status at this date. The earliest reference to burgesses occurs in 1295 and to a grant for murage in 1310. The site of the borough is uncertain. Croom Castle is located on the west bank of the River Maigue. Following the rebellion of Silken Thomas, the castle passed in 1547 to the Earls of Desmond only to revert to the Earls of Kildare in 1610. There are several mentions of the castle during the upheavals of the 17th century. The Civil Survey (1654-56) describes “Mannor of Crom” as consisting of: a castle, a bawn, an orchard and a mill out of repair and two eel weirs, with a broken bridge near the Castle.
By the eighteenth century, the function of Croom was changing from that of servicing the castle to servicing its fertile agriculture hinterland referred to as the Golden Vale. Influential buildings representing the developments of the time were constructed in Croom such as the Mill buildings, the railway station and the courthouse. The layout of the town is strongly influenced by the River Maigue with the majority of the towns development concentrated on the East Bank consisting of Main Street running parallel to the river and Bridge Street crosses the river, creating a predominately T-shaped pattern. The river acts as an important central feature in the town by creating a natural amenity in the town. The West Bank contains many of the early structures, which were constructed in the town.
1.3 Legal Status of the Plan
This LAP has been prepared in accordance with the requirements of the Planning and Development Act 2000(Amended).
The Planning and Development Act requires local area plans to be consistent with the objectives of the Development Plan, its core strategy and any regional planning guidelines that apply to that area. These national, regional and local strategies and policies assist in the identification of the most appropriate location of land uses, bearing in mind the principles of sustainable development, value for money and maximising resources, whilst aiming to reduce dependency on private motorised transport and greenhouse gas emissions. Examples of these influential documents are; Smarter Travel – A Sustainable Transport Future: A New Transport Policy for Ireland 2009-2012 by the Department of Transport, National Climate Change Strategy 2007-2012 by the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government, the National Planning Framework and the Draft Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy 2019-2031 for the Southern Region.
The Croom Local Area Plan, when adopted should be read in conjunction with the Limerick County Development Plan 2010 – 2016 (as extended).
1.4 The Review Process
1.4.1 Steps Involved in the preparation of the Plan
The review of the Local Area Plan commenced in February 2019 with the publication of an issues paper entitled “Review of Croom Local Area Plan – Issues Paper”. Its intention was to prompt discussion on local issues at pre-draft stage. The issues paper was on public display for a period of 4 weeks. Copies of the issues paper and an invitation to make a submission were sent to local community and voluntary agencies in the area. 26 No. submissions were received in total.
At the end of the public consultation period a report was prepared on issues arising during the public consultation period and a number of meetings have been held with internal and external stakeholders.
1.4.2 Strategic Environmental Assessment
The EU Directive on Strategic Environmental Assessment(SEA) requires all European Union member states to systematically evaluate the likely significant effects of implementation of a plan or programme prior to its adoption. An SEA screening exercise was carried out in line with “Implementation of SEA Directive (2001/42/EC): Assessment of Certain Plans and Programmes on the Environment - Guidelines for Regional Authorities and the Planning Authorities”. This concluded that a Strategic Environmental Assessment is not required for the review of the Croom LAP at this stage in the plan process.
1.4.3 Appropriate Assessment (AA)
In accordance with Articles 6(3) and 6(4) of the Habitats Directive, the Planning Authority undertook an AA Screening on the plan which assessed the effects of the Plan on the nearby Natura 2000 sites. This concluded that effects will be localised in the plan area and involve the development of appropriately zoned land and will not impact adversely on the Natura 2000 sites, therefore, not proceeding to carrying out a full Appropriate Assessment.
1.4.4 Flood Risk Assessment
A Stage 1 Flood Risk Assessment has been undertaken of the overall lands within the plan boundary, in support of the Croom LAP and a specific flood risk assessment has been carried out for lands identified as being in need of further detailed assessment. The information gathered has informed the Land Use Zoning Map included in this LAP. The LA has adopted the precautionary approach and lands, which have been identified as potentially at risk to flooding have generally been zoned for agricultural purposes.
1.5 National Planning Context
In accordance with the Planning and Development Act 2000(Amended) the LAP has been informed by a hierarchy of national, regional and local spatial planning policies.
A summary of some of the provisions of relevant guidelines and policy documents are outlined below.
Figure 1: Development Plan – hierarchy of plans
126.96.36.199 National Planning Framework
The National Planning Framework for Ireland (NPF) is a twenty-four year planning framework designed to achieve a better balance of social, economic and physical development and population growth between regions. Its focus is on people, places and building communities. The NPF will guide at a high-level strategic planning and development for the country over the next 20+ years, so that as the population grows, that growth is sustainable (in economic, social and environmental terms).
1.5.2 Regional Planning Context
188.8.131.52 Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy
The Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies will provide a long-term regional level strategic planning and economic framework in support of the implementation of the National Planning Framework. The Strategy for the Southern Region is presently at draft stage with an anticipated adoption in late 2019.
184.108.40.206 Mid-West Regional Planning Guidelines 2010-2022
This document was prepared in accordance with the National Spatial Strategy (NSS), providing key mechanisms responding to the NSS in respect of a vision, connectivity, world class places and products, enterprise enablers, balanced development and sustainability within the region. The Regional Planning Guidelines remain the relevant regional policy document, until such time as the RSES is adopted. These guidelines look at Limerick in its regional context with Limerick City & suburbs, Shannon and Ennis acting as a central core and further advances the areas designation as Gateways.
220.127.116.11 Mid-West Area Strategic Plan (MWASP)
MWASP proposes that in order for the region to develop its economic strength, it needs to generate export-led growth in goods and services, promote innovation through research and development and secure long-term sustainability and growth.
18.104.22.168 Retail Strategy for the Mid-West Region 2010 – 2016 (as extended)
This strategy, which was incorporated into the County Development Plan, was prepared in 2010 on behalf of Limerick City and Counties Limerick and Clare and. It addresses the retail needs, opportunities and issues of the Mid-West region and sets out an integrated strategic framework for retail planning in the Mid-West.
22.214.171.124 Joint Housing Strategy 2010 – 2017 (as extended)
The Housing Strategy has been prepared in accordance with Part V of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (Amended) and covers the functional areas of Limerick City and County Council and Clare County Council. A critical objective of the Housing Strategy is to ensure the provision of housing for the existing and projected future populations, in accordance with the principles of proper planning and sustainable development. The housing strategy also aims to provide an equitable level of social housing and social integration.
126.96.36.199 Shannon Integrated Framework Plan
The Shannon Integrated Framework Plan (SIFP) for the Shannon Estuary is an inter-jurisdictional land and marine based framework plan, to guide the future development and management of the Shannon Estuary. It was commissioned by Limerick City and County Councils, Clare County Council, Kerry County Council, Shannon Development and the Shannon Foynes Port Company. The project was overseen by a multi-agency steering group comprised of the above and other key stakeholders with an interest in the Estuary.
1.5.3 County Planning Context
188.8.131.52 County Development Plan 2010-2016 (as extended)
The Limerick CDP 2010 – 2016 sets out the Council’s policy to steer future development in
the County based on a settlement hierarchy reflecting settlement function and outlines population targets for settlements between 2010 and 2016 as extended. Within the County Development Plan, Croom is designated ‘Tier 3: Centres on Transport Corridors’. These centres will be promoted as secondary development centres for significant future development and play a complementary role to the Limerick Gateway.
184.108.40.206 Limerick Local Economic and Community Plan (LECP) 2016 – 2021
The LECP sets out the objectives and actions needed to support economic and local community development of the City and County. It is the primary mechanism at local level to bring forward the actions arising from measures in the Mid-West Regional Action Plan for Jobs and the Report of the Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas. It aims to co-ordinate local economic and community development programmes into a coherent strategic framework which is action orientated and identifies named lead agencies for implementation of the plan.
220.127.116.11 Age Friendly Programme 2015-2020
The first Age Friendly Strategy for Limerick gives commitments to improving key areas of infrastructure, services, information and overall social response to older people’s issues in Limerick.
18.104.22.168 Limerick Heritage Plan 2017-2030
This plan highlights the rich heritage of Limerick and offers a partnership process within which communities and individuals can engage with the Council to assist in the delivery of heritage objectives.
22.214.171.124 Limerick Cultural Strategy 2016-2030
This aims to grow Limerick’s cultural capacity by retaining and attracting creative practitioners to live and work in Limerick, to place culture at the heart of the economic growth and regeneration of Limerick; to engage citizens through involvement in culture growth and regeneration of Limerick and to increase and support the role of the creative industries in Limerick.
126.96.36.199 Rural Development Strategy 2014 – 2020
The Rural Development (LEADER) Programme 2014-2020 aims to improve the quality of life in rural areas and to encourage diversification of the rural economy. Limerick Local and Community Development Committee (LCDC) is the Local Action Group (LAG) for County Limerick and is responsible for the management of the LEADER Local Development Strategy (LDS) in the County. Ballyhoura Development and West Limerick Resources are its implementation partners and will deliver the majority of project and animation related actions associated with the implementation of the LDS including managing calls for proposals. Limerick City and County Council are the financial partner and secretariat.
188.8.131.52 Limerick Sports Partnership 2016 - 2020 Strategic Plan
The role of Local Sports Partnerships is to increase participation in sport by encouraging and enabling people to become involved in sport at a level of their choosing, regardless of their ability, gender or background. This Plan aims to serve the people of Limerick with the intention of fulfilling the mission of “Getting Limerick Active Together”. The Strategic Plan is underpinned by six guiding principles: equality, partnership, capacity, evidence base, sustainability and accountability. The commitment to increasing participation in Sport and Physical Activity remains the key outcome sought from the Strategy. The Strategy is guided in developing a more robust monitoring and evaluation framework to inform, support and demonstrate the impact of the work undertaken.
184.108.40.206 Limerick Digital Strategy
Limerick’s Digital Strategy will enable the development of a smart, sustainable, city and region where digital technologies improve quality of life, empower communities and enable economic growth.
Limerick is the first city, which Ireland to appoint a Chief Digital Officer to lead the development of digital strategy, which lays the foundation for the Smart Limerick Region. This programme sets out €4m to be invested in technology and research with the aim that by 2020 citizens and businesses will be better engaged in the city life using digital channels while locals and visitors to Limerick will be able to access information on some 2,000 attractions, new online services provided by the council and over 1,000 events each year in a single digital experience platform: Limerick.ie.
There will be 6 programmes for digital skills and culture & inclusion. Public WiFi deployed in 17 towns will enable the public to access this wealth of digital content and associated services.
220.127.116.11 Corporate Plan for Limerick City and County Council 2015-2019
This identifies the local authority as “ambitious” in relation to its strategy and vision for the local authority area and Limerick’s role in the region. As well as promoting Limerick as a location for investment, business, education and as a place to live, the Corporate Plan places a strong emphasis on “inclusive participation of all citizens in the development of their community” and community empowerment.
1.5.4 Other Planning Guidelines
Planning Authorities are required to take account of any policies and guidelines issued by the Minister. For a comprehensive list of other policy documents taken into account in preparing this plan refer to Chapter 1 in the Limerick County Development Plan 2010-2016 (as extended) and the DoECLG on