2. Site Context
The subject site measuring 0.78 hectares in area is located within the settlement of Montpelier, 19km north east of Limerick City. Located on the southern banks of the River Shannon on the boundary of County Clare and Limerick, the settlement of Montpelier has developed where the R525 Bridgetown and the R466 Birdhill roads converge.
The settlement structure for County Limerick which is set out in the County Development Plan 2010 – 2016 (CDP) designates Montpelier as a Tier 5 settlement. According to the CDP, Tier 5 settlements generally can be defined as a compact community usually though not exclusively titled a village with a traditional core, which has a number of services and facilities and which function as a service centre for a wider community. The CDP does provide for zoned land in Montpelier and identifies the land for Phase I residential development.
Located on the eastern side of the R513, the site is centrally positioned within the settlement, adjoining the church and community hall. The site slopes steeply to the east and its boundaries are dominated by significant trees and hedgerows. The site is defined by undeveloped zoned lands to the south and north and by agricultural land to the east. To the west is Brookhaven, a residential estate comprising 16 no. semi-detached and terraced units. Access to the site, from the R525 can only be secured through Brookhaven. It is understood that this scheme was developed by a Rural Housing Organisation and later taken in charge by Limerick City & County Council.
The general area is predominantly residential in nature with substantial areas of green space dominating both sides of the R525, before crossing the bridge to O'Brien's Bridge. There is a footpath and public lighting connecting the site within the settlement of Montpelier on one side of the public road. However this infrastructure terminates at the bridge and there is no footpath across the bridge linking both settlements.
The subject lands are in the ownership of Limerick City & County Council and therefore can be efficiently utilised to meet some of the demand for social housing arising in the area. Site selection was restricted to consideration of zoned land within the centre of the settlement and close to the defined settlement core. Consideration was also given to that land in the ownership of the City & County Council and which could be adequately serviced and integrated to provide much needed social housing.
These sites underwent pre-selection screening internally, with the Physical, Social and Economic pillars, in order to determine their suitability.
Site selection has taken a plan led approach to development having regard to the settlement strategy in the Limerick County Development Plan 2010 – 2016 (CDP) and the location of the site relative to existing services and facilities on land zoned for residential development. Development on the subject land can provide for much needed social housing in the area as well as facilitating population growth within a defined rural settlement in the county, in general accordance with the principles and objectives set out in the CDP.