Chapter 8 Development Opportunities
8 Development Opportunities
New developments provide opportunities to create attractive places in which to live, work and spend leisure time. High quality urban design and an attractive public realm are essential for the creation of character and a sense of place. Safe, accessible and integrated neighbourhoods offer the opportunity to create stronger nodes that provide a better experience and attract a diversity of employment, as well as other complementary and recreational uses.
A number of sites for development have been identified, which could contribute to the planned growth, renewal, enhancement and regeneration of the particular area in which they are located. These sites have been identified for various reasons such as opportunities for infill development, underutilization of brownfield land and greenfield lands that would be readily adaptable for new uses.
8.1 Urban Design
The built and natural heritage of the Southern Environs are valuable assets, which provide the context for good urban design. A high quality urban design can facilitate the creation of places that are successful and sustainable. The design of a place can contribute to energy use, the efficiency of transport systems and the success of economic development. The objectives relating to design and the public realm throughout this LAP aim to raise the quality of design and the creation of successful places.
In creating a high quality urban environment, the spaces between and around buildings, such as the streets, squares and public realm require as much consideration as the design of the buildings themselves. In this regard, the arrangement of streets and spaces, the position and style of street furniture, the mass, scale, height and design of buildings and the use of materials and colours in the finishes of buildings, roads and footpaths, all combine to achieve the quality of the urban design. An appropriate mix of complementary land uses also contributes to the quality of this urban design. A well-designed urban area has a clear character and distinct sense of place, facilitating the creation of communities and pride, in a place that is both desirable and safe. New developments through their design and contribution to place making, should enhance the overall character and quality of the environment in the Southern Environs.
The following are an example of the documents, which can guide high quality urban design in proposed developments in the Southern Environs:
- Sustainable Residential Development In Urban Areas, Guidelines for Planning Authorities, DEHG (2009);
- Urban Design Manual, A Best Practice Guide (2009);
- Sustainable Urban Housing: Design Standards for New Apartments, Guidelines for Planning Authorities (2018);
- Urban Development and Building Heights, Guidelines for Planning Authorities (2018);
- The Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets, DTTS and DECLG (2013);
- Building for Everyone: A Universal Design Approach.
Figure 14: Urban Design 12 Criteria - Urban Design Manual, A Best Practice Guide (2009)
The success of the design of a new residential area is based on the 12 Criteria set out under the Urban Design Manual as indicated in Figure 14 above.
In accordance with the Limerick County Development Plan 2010 – 2016 (as extended), a Design Statement is required to be submitted with a planning application for 5 or more dwellings, or for 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 Design Statement should reference up to date guidelines, detail how the site and context have been appraised, and demonstrate how the design meets the objectives to achieve a high quality urban design and public realm as set out throughout this plan.
The accompanying Sustainability Statement and Social Infrastructure Assessment should also demonstrate the design considerations having regard to the transport, energy, ecology and social quality needs of the area.
8.2 Key Buildings
Gateway and landmark buildings can emphasise the urban identify of a place. These buildings provide a signal of a significant place, either in terms of movement or use. Having the potential to act as important landmarks, these buildings should address the significance of the site.
Suitable locations for these buildings include important street corners or junctions, corner sites, the end of vistas and gateways, local centres and the edges of public squares or open space. High quality urban design, which makes a statement in terms of distinctiveness and creation of a sense of place, will be required at such locations, in particular on the approaches to Limerick City. Gateway and landmark buildings will be expected to provide visual interest and create a stimulating streetscape. In this regard, the Local Authority will encourage the highest quality innovative and modern design, which respects the site context, contributes to a sense of distinctiveness and “sense of place”, reflects arrival at the city and enforces a positive image of both the Southern Environs and the greater metropolitan area.
Development Opportunities: Strategy Policy:
To ensure that new development comprises the highest of qualitative and design standards, and promotes the creation of safe, desirable and characteristic places in which to live, work and do business.
Objectives: It is an objective of the Council to:
DO 1: Ensure the highest quality of public realm and urban design principles are applied to all new developments.
DO 2: Ensure development proposals have given proper consideration to the urban design criteria of site context, connectivity, inclusivity, variety, efficiency, distinctiveness, layout, public realm, adaptability, privacy and amenity, parking and detailed design.
DO 3: Ensure the construction of the highest quality and innovative designed landmark buildings in appropriate locations, including on the approaches to Limerick City, important street corners or junctions, corner sites, the end of vistas and gateways, local centres and the edges of public squares or open space.
8.3 Development Opportunities
The following section outlines the vision for the sustainable residential development of Mungret as set out in the Mungret Masterplan.
Developers should prepare Masterplans as part of the planning application process for large-scale sites, to demonstrate how their proposals will achieve high quality urban design and place making objectives.
The Limerick Shannon MASP recognises the potential for sustainable residential development in Mungret. Limerick 2030 DAC commissioned the preparation of a Masterplan for residential zoned land comprising 59.6ha. including 27.1ha. of lands owned by Limerick City and County Council.
Figure 15: Mungret College Buildings
The Masterplan will deliver much needed housing for Limerick, however the vision is about much more than housing. The plan proposes to create a vibrant neighbourhood that accommodates and facilitates a variety of uses and that nurtures a strong sense of community. A place that is safe, with people friendly streets and spaces and that relates well both to its surroundings and with Mungret Village and the adjacent neighbourhoods at Dooradoyle and Raheen.
The vision for Mungret is expressed through ten masterplan principles:
- To deliver an exemplar new neighbourhood with a clear identity and character that responds to the natural and historic environment and provides a great place to live.
- To deliver a green neighbourhood that encourages healthy lifestyles, offering easy and safe access to amenities and opportunity for play, recreation and learning.
- To create a strong and legible structure that leads people to a mixed-use centre at Mungret College, integrates the site with the wider area and strengthens existing centres.
- To grow the existing community hub at Mungret College so that it forms a heart for the new neighbourhood and is accessible to all residents.
- To protect and celebrate the site’s historic assets including the College, Mungret Abbey and medieval ringforts.
- To embrace the wider landscape and create a green framework across the site that retains the site’s green assets and enhances biodiversity.
- To create a walkable and cycle friendly neighbourhood that provides easy access to schools and amenities through a safe and attractive network of streets and paths.
- To create a legible network of streets defined by new buildings and laid out as part of a clear hierarchy.
- To incorporate bus routes through the heart of the neighbourhood reducing the need to travel by car.
- To provide a mix of high quality homes that give the opportunity to up or downsize within the neighbourhood.
Mungret College and the assemblage of buildings around it will form the centre of the neighbourhood, where a mix of uses will be promoted to bring renewed life and vibrancy to the College.
Funding has been secured through the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund (LIHAF) to deliver a link street, which will unlock substantial lands within public and private ownership and allow construction of residential development supported by community and employment uses. This Opportunity Area has the potential to deliver approximately 1,950 dwelling units. The first phase will deliver approximately 250 dwelling units. All dwellings will be located within 100m of a pocket park and 400m of a small park.
Two new primary school campuses (Educate Together & Gaelscoil An Raithin) have been constructed on the lands, while a third campus for a new secondary school is seeking planning permission.
In addition, a Neighbourhood Park of 11ha. including a fully equipped inclusive playground and walking track has already been completed. The pedestrian connection between these facilities and Mungret Village has undergone public realm improvements along the R859 and in Mungret Village. Additional cycle facilities have also been introduced on the R859. The Masterplan will accommodate bus services on the link streets, which will link into existing bus routes in the wider area. These measures, in addition to delivering a more connected network of walking routes that can enable people to walk to and from destinations within the neighbourhood and wider area are essential to create a shift away from use of the car and facilitate a more sustainable form of development.
The Masterplan has cognisance to the environmental and historical assets in the area including Loughmore Common proposed Natural Heritage Area and the Mungret Monastic Complex.
To deliver the key future growth enablers for Limerick identified in the National Planning Framework, including progressing the sustainable development of Mungret for housing and the development of supporting public transport and infrastructure.
Objectives: It is an objective of the Council to:
MM 01: Promote and facilitate the development of the Strategic Residential Area of Mungre in a planned and sustainable manner in accordance with the Mungret Masterplan and applicablecable objectives throughout this LAP.
8.3.2 Other Opportunity Sites
Opportunity sites can be presented for appraisal. Such proposals should have cognizance to the key strategic objectives of Limerick City and County Council as outlined in this Local Area Plan. An emphasis on compliance with the principles of urban design and public realm should be demonstrated in any proposal.
Some of the sites may be owned by different parties and would require an element of site assembly for a coherent development strategy to progress. This approach to re-development will be encouraged over a piecemeal approach.