Chapter 8 Environment & Heritage
Strategic Policy for Environment and Heritage
Policy EH 1: It is the policy of the Council to ensure that the archaeological, architectural, natural and the built heritage of Croom is protected.
Policy EH 2: It is the policy of the Council to ensure that all proposals shall comply with the policies, objectives and development management standards of the Limerick County Development Plan 2010 - 2016 (as extended)
The protection of the built, historic and natural environment is a keystone to the sustainable development of a town or village. Conservation and preservation relates to buildings and land and the Council is concerned with the protection and enhancement of both. As settlements develop the demands on the environment, both natural and manmade, become greater. The role of the Council is to balance the two – preservation of a high quality environment, while satisfying economic and social needs.
In the interest of safeguarding the cultural and built heritage, 26 structures have been identified for their contribution to the architectural heritage in the area and have been designated as ‘protected structures’ under Section 51 of the Planning and Development Act 2000(Amended). These structures are included within the Record of Protected Structures (R.P.S) set out in Appendix 3 of this Plan. This list of structures is an abstract from the Record of Protected Structures, which is a statutory document maintained by Limerick City and County Council, as part of the County Development Plan. Exempted development regulations are not applicable to such structures, where proposed development would materially affect the character of the structure or any element of the structure, which contributes to the architectural heritage.
The Council will encourage the rehabilitation, restoration, re-use and change of use of existing older buildings and protected structures, where appropriate, in preference to their demolition and redevelopment, in accordance with the principles of sustainable development. Proposals to construct extensions sympathetic to such buildings in order to facilitate their reuse would be welcomed by the Council. Some of the Protected Structures are also listed on the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. The National Inventory of Architectural Heritage (NIAH) established in 2010, under the provision of the Architectural Heritage (National Inventory) and Historic Monuments (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1999, identifies, records, and evaluates the post-1700 architectural heritage of Ireland. The NIAH provides the basis for the recommendations of the Minister to the planning authorities for the inclusion of particular structures in their Record of Protected Structures (RPS). There are 17 NIAH structures located in the proposed Croom LAP area. Refer to www.buildingsofireland.ie for further details of these structures.
Figure 16: Former National School, Croom
The collective arrangement of buildings along the Main Street in Croom are considered of significance to the built heritage of the area and contributes to the character of the area. It is an objective of the Council to preserve the character of this area and therefore it is designated as an Architectural Conservation Area (ACA). The ACA is defined in the Protected structures and ACA Map Cr-19/25-04. The designation of the ACA does not preclude future development, but the carryout out of works to the exterior of structures, within the ACA shall not be considered as exempted development, where those works would materially alter the character of the ACA. In assessing development proposals within the ACA, the Council shall take into account the material effect that the proposed development would be likely to have on the character of the ACA.
There is a requirement as per the provisions of Part IV (Architectural Heritage) of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (Amended) and its accompanying Regulations for additional documentation to be submitted with planning applications for developments within Architectural Conservation Areas. Guidance for this is set out in the Supplementary Application form and in Chapter 3 of the Architectural Heritage Protection Guidelines for Planning Authorities (Planning Guidelines No 9) (2nd Edition) 2011. Extensions or standalone developments, should enhance the character of Architectural Conservation Area. This approach applies also to proposals involving the setting and amenities of Architectural Conservation Areas. In considering proposal for development in these situations, it is the policy to have particular regard to:
- The potential impact of the proposal on buildings and the receiving environment – be it natural or manmade;
- The potential impact of development on the immediate streetscape, or landscape, in terms of compatibility of design, scale, height, plot width and depth, roof treatments, fenestration, materials, finishes, landscaping, mix and intensity of proposed use.
In undertaking repairs or maintenance works to buildings in the Croom Architectural Conservation Area, property owners and their contractors should be aware of the materials traditionally used in the county and specifically in the area itself and its immediate surrounds.
Works in Conservation Areas must retain existing surviving elements, aim to re-instate lost elements or character, with new build complementing the existing building lines and open areas. Where original or early surviving elements, such as windows and doors, rainwater goods, natural slate roofing and lime render and so forth, these should be repaired sensitively. The guidance here is to ‘do as much as necessary, as little as possible’. If replacement proves necessary, then they must be replaced on a ‘like for like’ basis.
In replacing elements that were installed as replacements in recent decades, such as aluminium windows or smooth finish artificial slate, there are good reasons, apart from those put forward on the basis of architectural heritage, to return to the original material, such as timber windows and natural slate. These reasons include the compatibility of traditional materials with one another and the fact that the historic material allows the building to breath, thereby providing a healthier internal atmosphere for those using the buildings.
The town of Croom is designated as an Historic Town and is entered on the Record of Monument and Places (LI030-025). As a Recorded Monument, it is protected under the National Monuments Acts (1930-2004). The extent of the Historic Town Recorded Monument is shown in Appendix 2, as well as the location of the other Recorded Monument within the Plan area.
It is the Council’s policy to safeguard the value and setting of archaeological sites in Croom and to seek their preservation in situ or, and only where appropriate through advance archaeological excavation. In so doing the Council will liaise with the National Monuments Service, DEHLG, where any planning application is received within the Historic Town area or in the vicinity of the other Recorded Monuments, outlined in Appendix 2, the application will be referred to the National Monuments Service for its recommendation. An archaeological impact assessment may be required as part of the applications.
The National Monuments Act 1930 - 2004 provide the legal framework for the protection of the archaeological heritage. The National Monuments (Amendment) Act 1994 established a Record of Monuments and Places(RMP). It is a legal requirement under Section 12(3) of the 1994 Act, that any person, who wishes to carry out development in this area, including development that does not require planning permission, informs the National Monuments Services, DEHLG of their proposals, providing at least two months’ notice in writing, the area of notification for Croom town centre is outlined on Map Cr19/25/05.
Owners and occupiers of buildings and property within the town are encouraged to improve the appearance of their properties and to contribute to improvement of the streetscape.
Figure 17: Croom Bridge, Protected Structure Reference 1133
The approach to Croom Castle from the roundabout on Bridge Street provides a fine view of the Castle, and an important glimpse of the town’s past. It signifies a sense of arrival in an historic place and provides an important overview of the general setting of Croom. A protected view has been included in the Plan to safeguard the setting of the Castle and any development on the adjoining town centre zoned lands shall be cognisant of this and shall respect the integrity of this view.
The area within the curtilage of Croom Castle is designated as a Special Control Area. This area is located within the Recorded Monument, LI030-025001, classified as the historic town of Croom and the Castle located within this classification has been assigned a unique reference LI030-025005. It is also within the Architectural Conservation Area. Only proposals for the rehabilitation for re-use of short term tourist letting of the Coach House which support the setting and amenity of Croom Castle, will be considered in this area and will be assessed on an individual basis. Ancillary walkways may be considered at this location.