Chapter 3 - Plan Strategy

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

3.1 Context

As set out in the Chapter 2, the Croom LAP is made in accordance with the objectives set out in the Limerick County Development Plan (CDP) 2010 - 2016 (as extended), or any subsequent development plan, following the adoption of the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy for the Southern Region.  

3.2 Demographic Trends

The population target for Croom must comply with the settlement strategy of the Limerick County Development Plan, the provisions of the National Planning Framework (NPF) and the Implementation Roadmap for the NPF and the forthcoming Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy for the Southern Region (RSES).  Central to the CDP strategy is the planned expansion of towns, appropriately, sustainably and sequentially around the town centre and avoid the creation of urban sprawl.  Croom town is a Tier 3 settlement as set out in the CDP.  The town is likely to continue to grow.

Each settlement is allocated a specific population target in the Core Strategy of the County Development Plan 2010 – 2016 (as extended), however in anticipation of the publication of the RSES, Limerick City and County Council have considered the National Planning Framework and the Implementation Roadmap for the National Planning Framework and the draft Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy for the Southern region, in terms of population allocation and have allocated population accordingly to each settlement in the County including Croom.   

3.3 Vision Statement 

It is the long term vision for Croom to consolidate the role of Croom as a town serving a wide agricultural hinterland by facilitating the improvement of the built fabric and natural amenities of the town, promoting sensitive infill development and facilitating new development in a planned and sustainable manner.

To achieve this vision Croom needs to be supported and promoted as a self-supporting community and must develop in a manner that enhances, its physical and natural environment, consolidates its town, builds a strong local economy and provides convenient local services and amenities.

Good transport links are important, including improvements to public transport services to provide a genuine alternative to the car.  Building on the existing strengths of the town, it is imperative that all stakeholders maximise any development opportunities in the area to secure progressions and improved quality of life.

3.4 Strategic Policy 

S1 Consistency of the Draft Croom Local Area Plan with the hierarchy of statutory plans.

It is the policy of the Council to ensure that the Croom Local Area Plan is consistent with the hierarchy of statutory plans. The proposed LAP will be subject to a review in the context of its consistency with the Limerick City & County Development Plan, when adopted following the making of the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy (RSES) for the Southern Assembly Region.

S2: Sustainable Development

It is the policy of the Council to support the sustainable development of Croom.

S2: Compliance with the Limerick County Development Plan

It is the policy of the Council to ensure all proposals shall comply with the policies, objectives and development management standards of the Limerick County Development Plan 2010-2016 (as extended), any subsequent City & County Development Plan and the objectives of this Plan.


In order to achieve strategic policy S2, this LAP focuses on:

a) Rationalising the residential land use in the area to comply with the population targets as set out in the County Development Plan core strategy and the anticipated growth of the area as proposed in the National Planning Framework, the Implementation Roadmap for the NPF and the Draft Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy for the Southern Region.

b) Ensuring development accommodates envisaged housing need and diversity to sustain vibrant and socially balanced communities.

c) Ensuring the revitalisation of the town centre commercially and socially by securing sustainable residential and commercial development for vacant and underutilised sites and buildings.  Central to the above is the issue of design and quality in respect of both individual buildings and of the general layout of any proposal.  The Planning Authority will require that proposed developments display a high quality of design that reflects the setting of the development.

d) Ensuring that land use zonings and objectives guide all development in Croom to appropriate locations and provide for adequate social and recreational facilities, in tandem with the growth of Croom.

e)Enhancement and development of the area as a local service centre for the surrounding area and encourage the enhancement of the existing public transport facilities serving Croom.

f) Ensuring that the area develops in a way that protects and enhances the richness and integrity of the area’s natural and built heritage.

g) Ensuring that the growth of the area is accompanied by adequate infrastructure to serve the needs of the town and to facilitate expansion.

h) Ensuring that land use zonings and objectives provide proposals for traffic management and improvement in the town centre.

3.5 Evaluation of the 2009 -2015 (as extended) Croom LAP

It is important to assess the strengths and limitations of the 2009 - 2015 Croom LAP (as extended) and to determine what planning policies are relevant to the future development of the area.

The 2009 LAP made generous provision for new housing.  This was reflective of the demand for residential development, that was evident at the time of the preparation of the 2009 plan.  In total over 31.6 hectares were zoned for residential development, on which housing would generally be permitted. A number of permissions for residential development have been granted since the adoption of the 2009 plan and there has been uptake of serviced sites in the townland of Skagh. It should be noted, that construction activity in the area was lower in recent years than it was in the years preceding the plan. There are currently a number of residential developments with the benefit of live planning permissions, which could yield additional residential development, including a housing development of 46 houses, in the townland of Skagh.

There is evidence of investment in the town, including a new Civic Centre and linear walk and parkland, which experiences great usage. The local community continue to invest their resources and volunteerism into community development in the town such as litter collections and other Tidy Town initiatives.

Croom is diverse in character and offers an abundance of opportunities for the future development of the town.  Significant development is underway to the north of the town in the construction of a new 850 student post primary school. However, as with all settlements there are also challenges which may hinder the competitiveness of the town as a desirable place to live, work in, and visit. Some of these are considered in the SWOT analysis below.  

3.6 SWOT Analysis

The following table sets out the main strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats as identified through public consultation at the pre-draft stage and the site appraisals undertaken as part of the plan preparation process.






  • Croom is a service centre for a large agricultural hinterland;









  • Proximity to Limerick City allows the town to act as a residential centre for the city;





  • Accessible to national road network;




  • Buildings of architectural and historic interest;



  • Strong archaeological and historical association;







  • Availability of lands for development;






  • Good range of public and private amenity facilities;





  • Traffic volumes passing through the Main St results in congestion especially at peak times;



  • Lack of investment has led to a high rate of vacancy and dereliction with a number of vacant buildings at prominent locations



  • Perception of the town;




  • Limited public transport links to Limerick City and elsewhere;




  • Poor social mix due to over concentration of local authority housing in the town;



  • Proximity to Limerick City may act as a  deterrent to investment;




  • Competitive disadvantage due to poor broadband capacity


  • Croom Castle, old mills and historic church buildings offer potential for tourism;



  • Availability of lands with development potential;







  • Good sense of community responsibility for development and improvement of the town;





  • Existing amenity along the river and the potential to further develop this amenity;


  • Further development of community facilities to support the local community;
  • Development potential for downsizing units within the town centre;



  • Provision of usable green space within residential developments to be a priority;



  • Rivers provide opportunities for development of green corridors supporting sustainable travel and active lifestyles, linkage and biodiversity value, eg.  River Maigue
  • Uncertainty in relation to the release of zoned lands;








  • Worsening of traffic congestion;









  • Implications of flooding on developable lands;



  • Lack of progress in relation to addressing traffic congestion;





  • Population growth placing pressure on environmental quality, and pressure for housing;




  • Perceptions, and fears regarding anti-social behaviour

3.7 Population Targets and Zoning Requirements 

3.7.1 Population Targets 

The National Planning Framework was published for Ireland in February 2018 and will govern, where development takes place in the country to 2040. The plan will be implemented through the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies. The strategy for the Southern Region is currently being prepared.  In the absence of the adopted RSES for the Southern Region, population growth for Limerick has been calculated based on the NPF strategy and Implementation Road Map for the NPF published in July 2018.

 Limerick City & County Council have considered the population growth of the City and County.  The anticipated population in Croom expects the town’s population to grow in the range of 585 to 659 additional people by 2031.  Applying these targets to the new Croom Plan, there is an anticipated growth of an additional 439 persons by 2026.  This equates to 43.9 persons per annum over ten years (2016 – 2026).


Table 5            Population growth based on the NPF and draft RSES of the Southern Region     

Census 2016

Population increase to 2026

Low range

Population Increase to 2026

High range

Population Increase to 2026 + 25% headroom

(high range)


Total population 2026

(excluding headroom and Using high range projections)






Such a scale of growth is considered appropriate given the towns strategic location relative to Limerick and Cork, the availability of serviced lands and the range of services available to sustain a growing population. It is noteworthy, that objective SS01 of the CDP requires the town to grow sequentially from the town centre, maintaining a compact urban settlement and avoiding leap-frogging of development.  Proposals for infill development, particularly in town core are encouraged and are necessary given the level of vacancy in the town. The NPF seeks that at least 30% of all new homes nationally are provided within the built-up footprint of existing settlements. Additional population growth in Croom will lead to increased service demand and a critical mass for the provision of additional services. 

3.7.2 Land Zoning Requirements 

The residential zoned land requirement is calculated having regard to the projected population growth outlined above and the guidance contained in the “Sustainable Residential Development in Urban Area – Guidelines for Planning Authorities”. In accordance with these guidelines 90% of the projected housing units will have a density of 22 units per hectare, while the remaining 10% of housing units will be in the form of serviced sites at a density of 10 units per hectare. In accordance with the National Planning Framework Implementation Road Map 2018, 25% headroom is also included and an allowance is also made for social housing requirements in line with the Draft Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy for the Southern Region.

Table 6 - Residential units required to accommodate projected population growth to 2026









2026 Pop Increase including headroom

No. of houses required at 2.5 average household size

Vacant residential Units (geo directory)

No. of Units required excluding vacant units


Social Housing Units required (50% of overall required)

Total Units required D+E

Residential units required (90% at 22 units per hectare)

Serviced Site units required (10% at 10 units per hectare)


















Table 7 – Residential zoned land requirements based on Table 6 above

Resident Units Required

Residential Zoned land required based on

22 units per hectare

Services Site Units Required

Serviced Site zoned land required based on 10 Units per hectare




11.2 hectares




2.7 hectares

A detailed serviced lands assessment matrix was compiled as part of the plan preparation process in line with the requirements of the NPF to establish the suitability of the land for development within the plan boundary.  This has been included in the plan by way of an Appendix (Appendix 5).  All the lands zoned for residential development have been zoned on the basis that adequate services are available to facilitate the development of each of the sites.  In addition to the serviced lands and implementation and infrastructural delivery schedule has been included in Appendix 5 to outline the schedule of development of infrastructure to enable the development of this residential development.