Chapter 10 Urban Design
Overall Strategic Policy
Policy UD1: Urban Design: It is the policy of the Council to promote high quality design through the LAP area and ensure that future development in Croom is guided by principles of best practice and sustainability.
Policy UD2: Compliance with Limerick County Development Plan Development 2010-2016 (as Extended) Management Guidelines: It is the policy of the Council to determine applications for development in accordance with the policies, objectives and development management standards set out in the Croom LAP and the Limerick County Development Plan in order to ensure the proper planning and sustainable development of the are
Good urban design is essential for attractive places to live in, work in and relax in. It is achieved by the arrangement of streets and spaces, the mass, scale, design of buildings, the materials used, colour scheme and finishes of buildings, roads and footpaths. Street furniture also contributes to urban design, as does a mix of appropriate complementary land uses. A well designed urban area has a clear and distinct sense of place, instilling a sense of community and pride with a clearly defined centre, which is desirable to walk around and feels safe.
This chapter of the Croom LAP is intended to provide guidance to assist prospective applicants in drawing attention to aspect of planning and design, which the Planning Authority will be taking into account, when assessing applications for future development. Since adoption of the 2009-2015 Croom Plan (as extended), there has been a number of guidance documents issued, which deal with urban design.
• Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets DECLG (2013)
• Sustainable Residential Development in Urban Areas – Guidelines for Planning Authorities and the accompanying Urban Design Manual - DEHLG (2009)
• Government Policy on Architecture 2009-2015 - DEHLG (2009)
• Towards a Sustainable Future: Delivering Quality within the Built Environment - DEHLG (2009)
• The Planning System and Flood Risk Management - DEHLG (2009)
• Sustainable Urban Housing: Design Standards for New Apartments - DHPCLG (2018)
• Smarter Travel – A Sustainable Transport Future - DTTS (2009)
• Quality Housing for Sustainable Communities’- DEHLG (2007)
• DTA Sustainable Transport Future 2009 – 2020
• National Building Authority’s (2002) ‘Building for Everyone – Inclusion, Access and Use’ .
Themes and Principals of Urban Design
A successfully designed urban area would generally be governed by the following themes:
- A commitment to achievement of a high design quality. It is considered essential that
there would be a commitment to good design as a sustainable and cost effective means of accommodating suitable land uses in a way that enhances a local sense of place and creates vibrant communities. Design should be both comprehensive in its scope with respect to its brief and thorough in its attention to detail.
- Sensitive response to context and insertion of distinctive character: The key questions are how does the development respond to its surroundings? How do proposals create a sense of place?
- Accommodation of an appropriate type and variety of uses and tenures: A key challenge is how to accommodate and facilitate a variety of uses that will nurture a sense of community and vitality to a neighbourhood.
- Ensuring connectability and inclusivity: How well is the new neighbourhood / site
connected? How easily can people use and access the development? How will parking be secure and attractive?
- Environmental efficiency and responsibility: How does the development make appropriate use of resources, including land?
- Ensuring adequate amenities for private and for public needs: How does the layout of the development safeguard the privacy of its residents and provide for their amenity needs? How does the proposal create people-friendly streets and spaces? How safe, secure and enjoyable are the public areas?
At a local level, the Limerick CDP 2010 – 2016 (as extended) has placed greater emphasis on appropriate design in its development management guidelines. It is a requirement that a design statement is submitted as part of a planning application for 5 or more dwellings, or commercial / industrial developments over 1,000 sq. metres. A ‘Design Statement’ is a short document, which enables the applicant to explain why a particular design solution is considered the most suitable for a particular site. The design statement should outline a justification for the development as proposed and any alternative design options considered.
The accompanying Sustainability Statement and Social Infrastructure Assessment should also demonstrate the design considerations having regard to the transport, energy, ecology, and social quality.
In respect of qualifying development proposals, the design statements required should make explicit reference to up to date national guidelines, how the site and context is appraised, and how the design meets the objectives and follows the site specific guidelines of this Plan as relevant to the site or opportunity.
10.3 Transformional areas of Main Street and High Street
The Main Street and High Street of Croom have been identified as key areas, within the Plan boundary that has potential for transformational works, beneficial not alone across the plan area but into the wider hinterland. The area was chosen on the basis of its unique challenges and the opportunities that it faces and the potential contribution it can make to the future development of the town.
There are a number of buildings along both streets in the town centre, which are vacant, under-used, and some are poorly maintained. Collectively these buildings contribute to a sense of degeneration, which is not the ambition of a town, with anticipated population growth. Equally traffic congestion and parking along the Main Street has a negative effect on the town centre. The Council has identified these streets for their potential to be key contributors to urban regeneration in the town, sustaining community vitality, contributing to a positive public realm experience, and having potential for adaptive re-use. Furthermore, the refurbishment of buildings has the potential to sustain and improve the value of these property assets in terms of rental and selling market value. Proposals for traffic management improvements will also create a more attractive place in which to live and carry out business.
10.3.1 Challenges and Opportunities for Main Street and High Street
Main Street extends along the length of the commercial spine of the town from the junction of the L1408 Crecora Road and Garda Station to the junction of Main Street and High Street. High Street runs perpendicular to it and into Bridge Street. Both streets have suffered from the departure of key commercial businesses in recent years, due to a wide range of factors and have notable levels of vacancy and in instances dereliction. Maximising the reuse of space both at ground floor and upper floor level will be a key focus in this area. As the established commercial centre, it is vital that the Main Street retains and enhances its primacy as the focus for retail and recreational and social activities. This will necessitate a focus on improving the overall appearance of the buildings along the streets, re-using existing buildings, encouraging the provision of new buildings and uses and addressing the traffic movement and parking along the Main Street as well as the junction with High St and at the other end of the street with the Garda Station.