Chapter 2: Development Strategy

Closed17 Aug, 2019, 8:00am - 30 Sep, 2019, 5:00pm

2.1 Policy Context 

The development strategy contained within this Local Area Plan (LAP) has been informed by a hierarchy of national, regional and local spatial planning policy documents as outlined in Chapter 1.

In accordance with the Planning and Development Act 2000 (Amended), a local area plan shall be consistent with the objectives of the development plan, its core strategy and any regional planning guidelines that apply to the area of the plan. This LAP must take cognisance of its relationship with the County Development Plan (CDP) and relevant aspects of the Regional Planning Guidelines and the Draft Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy for the Southern Region; including population projections, housing strategy, settlement strategy, economic development, flood risk assessment, climate change and biodiversity strategies. Furthermore, the core strategy of the LAP should reflect the role and function identified for the LAP area as identified in the settlement hierarchy in the CDP.

2.1.1 Limerick County Development Plan 2010 -2016 (As Extended)

The Limerick County Development Plan 2010 – 2016 (as extended) is the ‘parent’ document for this Croom Local Area Plan.

Croom is designated a Tier 3 settlement, identified as a centre on a transport corridor in the County Development Plan.  The main centres on the transport corridors will be promoted as secondary development centres for significant future development. They provide a wide range of services and their functions are complementary to Limerick, the Key Service Centre and each other. They also have an important regional employment function within their surrounding catchment areas.

The Limerick County Development Plan 2010 – 2016 (as extended) sets out the overarching policies for the development of the Croom area.

Table 3.1 of the CDP outlines the settlement structure for the County with Croom designated as a Tier 3 settlement in the settlement hierarchy.

Table 1: Croom within the Settlement Hierarchy for County Limerick

Settlement Structure for County Limerick

Tier 3: Centres on Transport Corridors

Abbeyfeale, Adare, Askeaton, Castleconnell, Croom, Foynes, Patrickswell and Rathkeale.


The County Development Plan further specifies the Council’s policies and objectives with regard to Tier 2-6 settlements as follows:

Policy SS P2: Development of Tier 2 - 6 settlements:

It is policy of the Council to support the sustainable development of settlements within Tiers 2-6.

Objective SS O1: Scale of development within Tiers 2-6


To ensure that the scale of new housing developments both individually and cumulatively shall be in proportion to the pattern and grain of existing development and to ensure that the expansion of towns and villages shall be in the form of a number of well integrated sites within and around the core area rather than focusing on rapid growth driven by one very large site. In this regard and without prejudice to other development plan policies or development management best practices, there will be a positive presumption for housing developments of the following scale or smaller within each tier, as appropriate:


Tiers 2– 4:       Generally no one proposal for residential development shall increase the          existing housing stock by more than 10-15% within the lifetime of the plan.

Tier 5:              Generally no one proposal for residential development shall be larger than 10-12 units. A limited increase beyond this may be permitted where demonstrated to be appropriate.

Tier 6:              Generally development shall be in the form of single units on infill or brownfield sites within the core centre, except where there is a public sewer and water supply with capacity where up to 4-5 houses per application shall be considered. A limited increase beyond this may be permitted where demonstrated to be appropriate.


Policy SS P8 further supports the development of Croom:

It is policy of the Council to encourage and facilitate where possible, the sustainable, balanced development of existing settlements along the strategic national roads and rail corridors. In this regard the Council will seek to ensure that sufficient land is zoned within these settlements so that they will act as the primary focus for investment infrastructure, housing,transport, employment, education, shopping, health facilities and community.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                


Objective SS O11: Zoning of land for Tier 3 settlements

To support this policy it is an objective of the Council to:

a) Monitor and review the local area plans for Abbeyfeale, Adare, Askeaton, Castleconnell, Croom, Patrickswell and Rathkeale in accordance with the relevant legislation

b) Zone land within the town of Foynes

c) To address the unique development patterns within the town of Rathkeale and stem the existing decline.

d) Prepare a village design statement or local development framework plan for Foynes, subject to available resources.


2.2 Geographical Context 

The town is located on the western bank of the River Maigue, off the N20 national road between Limerick City and Charleville. The town comprises of two principal streets, Main Street and Bridge Street, with smaller streets branching off. The street plan is linear with Main Street running parallel to the river and Bridge Street running perpendicular to the south. The surrounding rural hinterland is agricultural land which, is relatively flat and open countryside and is defined by the Limerick County Development Plan 2010-2016 (as extended) as an area of Strong Agricultural Base. The construction of a by-pass has improved the town’s environment by reducing through traffic, however the Main Street still suffers from traffic congestion.

2.3 Function 

Croom performs an important market and service function for the resident population and for the surrounding hinterland. This is evident by the range of services and businesses operating in the area. These include: a supermarket, a pharmacy, a car sales premises, a bakery, butchers, a number of public houses and restaurants/takeaways along with beauticians and hairdressers etc.  There is scope to enhance the town centres service base through the redevelopment of a number of underutilised and derelict buildings along the Main Street.

There is also a wide range of amenity facilities in the area serving the local population and further afield.  In recent times, the recreational value of the River Maigue has been enhanced through the provision of a linear walkway/cycleway, which runs parallel to the river. The recent addition of a slipway allows access to water sports along the river such as kayaking.  The adjacent 13 acres of parkland is filled with woodland paths, seating, picnic areas and a children’s playground. The adjoining Civic Centre serves as a meeting and restaurant space for the local community.  Further sporting and meeting room facilities are available at the Croom Sports Complex and Croom Enterprise Centre.

  Figure2: : Croom Civic Centre


2.4 Demographic and Socio economic Context: 

2.4.1 Population 

The total population of the area covered by the Croom Local Area Plan, according to the 2016 Census and cross referenced with the Geodirectory was 1,157 people. The population figures recorded for Croom in the previous Local Area Plan corresponded to the recorded figure in the Census for the Settlement of Croom. Unfortunately, this or none of the other geographical units used by the Central Statistics Office match the Local Area Plan boundary.

Table 2: CSO Geographical units for collection of population data for Coom 2006-2016






Croom (Settlement of Croom)




Electoral Division of Croom




Croom SAPS Area ID(within or crossing plan boundary 127054001,127054002,127054003,127054004,127054006)

SAPS not collected in 2006 census










However, using the CSO data (SAPS number 127054006 lies entirely within the plan boundary, all other SAPS cross the Plan boundary), cross-referenced with GeoDirectory data, the estimates of 2016 population and housing stock within the plan area are as follow

Table 3 : Population covered by the Croom LAP


Existing Population

Existing Housing Stock






Note – Average household size has been taken at 2.5 persons per household.

Table 4: Population growth Croom 1981-2016


Croom Population

Population Increase/Decrease

% Increase

























Source: CSO Census

*Population was gathered for the Settlement of Croom as collected by the CSO. This boundary is larger than the LAP boundary and includes a number of additional houses to the west of the town.   

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The graph below indicates the trends in population growth and decline experienced in Croom over the period 1986 to 2016.  The population of Croom town has remained relatively static with some minor decreases and increases between 1986 and 2006.  The greatest population increase was experienced in the inter censual period 2006 - 2011, where an increase of 112 people was recorded, an increase of 10.72%. The growth of the area is confirmation of the attractiveness of the area as a place to live.

Figure 3: Population trends experienced in the Croom Area 1986-2016


2.4.2 Age profile 

The graph below depicts the age structure in Croom in 2016.  From analysis 30% of the population of the town are under the age of 20, with a further 15% between the age of 35 and 44.  This is significant in terms of service provision and has implications for housing provision, the size of the workforce and demand for education, recreation amenities and health services. 


Fugure 4: Age profile, Croom, Census 2016


Figure 5: Age profile trends, Croom, County and State, Census 2016

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Figure 5 above depicts a comparison of the percentage in each age category as set out in the Census data collected in 2016 between Croom, Limerick and the State.  What is evident from the graph is the percentage in the 20-24 year old age bracket is substantially lower in the Croom area, than in the County and State as a whole.  In general, the remainder of the age categories follow the County and State profile, with the exception of the 60-64 age category, where the profile in Croom is some 1.2-1.5% higher than the County and State average.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

2.4.3 Employment 

Figure 6 below depicts the employment in the different broad industrial groups in 2016.  The greatest number of people are employed in Skilled Trades Occupations, which accounts for 15.8% of the total employed. This is followed by Caring, Leisure and Other Service Occupations, which account for 13.6% of the workforce. Areas such as skilled trades occupations, process plant and machine operatives and elementary occupations, show a strong bias toward males whilst the caring, leisure and other services and administrative and secretarial occupations have a female bias.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Figure 6:  Persons at work by sex and broad industrial group, Croom, Census 2016

2.4.4 Unemplyment: 

According to the 2016 Census, the unemployment rates in the Croom area as a percentage of those aged 15 years and over and who were unavailable for work was 7.9%.  This was above the national unemployment rate of 6.1%, which was the most up to date actual figure released by the CSO in January 2018.  Figure 7 below illustrates the unemployment trend in Croom compared to Limerick City and County and the national trend from 2006 to 2016.  It is clear that from 2006, the unemployment rate in Croom has always been higher than the county and national average.  The numbers out of work have dropped from 2011-2016, but still remains higher than the rate in 2006.

Figure7: Unemployment trends, Croom, County and State, Census 2016

2.4.5 Education: 

Analysis of the 2016 Census data in relation to education achievement, indicates that the highest educational attainment is at Lower Secondary School level, accounting for nearly 23.5% of those aged over 15 years.  This is followed closely by those with Upper Secondary Level education, which account for 19.3%.  Largely there is an even split between the level of male and female attainment across the various educational categories.

Figure8: Persons aged 15 years and over by sex and highest level of education completed, Croom, Census 2016


2.4.6 Travel Patterns 

Figure 9 shows the travel time to work, school or college by people aged 5 years and over living in the Croom area.  According to the 2016 Census, the majority of people, 41.3% have a travel time of less than 15 minutes and 21.8% have a travel time of between 15 and 30 minutes.  This is accounted for by the presence of a primary school, a secondary school and employers such as the Orthopaedic Hospital.  There is a strong preference (61%) towards the use of the private car for travel to work, school or college in the area, which is followed by travel on foot which stands at 11%.  This is re-enforced in the number of car ownerships per household, which identifies that the majority of households in the Croom area own one car as illustrated in Figure 11.

Figure 9: Persons aged 5 years and over and travel time to work

Figure10: Persons aged 5 years and over by means of travel to work, school or college, Croom, Census 2016

*Actual figures recorded for Bicycle, Motorcyle or Scooter, Train, Dart or Luas and Other (incl Lorry) were too small to represent as a percentage in the above pie chart for Croom.

Figure 11: Car ownership, Croom, Census 2016