Chapter 5 - Sustainable Communities

Open2 Sep, 2023, 12:00am - 16 Oct, 2023, 5:00pm

5.1 Sustainable Communities - Introduction

Higher level spatial plans, including the Limerick Development Plan, focus on the importance of healthy place-making and the creation of attractive, ‘inclusive communities and places’, ‘healthy communities’ and accessible neighbourhoods, that have good access to appropriate enabling social infrastructure. The Draft Patrickswell LAP transposes this view into policies and objectives at a local level, supporting and promoting the 10 Minute Town Concept that seeks to have all community facilities and services accessible within a 10 minute walk or cycle, from homes or are accessible by public transport services connecting people to larger scaled settlements.

Figure 5.1: Patrickswell Community Resource Centre Development Site

The Draft Plan provides the policy to support the creation of a socially attractive village with a quality public realm, improving quality of life through access to childcare, education and healthcare and improved access to open space, sports and recreation facilities.

Policy CP1 - Community Infrastructure, Recreation and Open Space Strategic Policy: It is the policy of the Council to:

(a)   Support and facilitate sports clubs, schools, cultural groups and community organisations in the provision, improvement and expansion of community services, sports and recreation amenities, multi-purpose spaces at appropriate locations that are universally accessible. The Council promotes opportunities for multi and co-use active and passive recreational amenities including sports and recreational facilities, playgrounds/play space and outdoor gym equipment within existing areas of open space.

(b)  Ensure that planning applications for social infrastructure and recreational infrastructure demonstrate climate resilience measures to climate-proof critical infrastructure.

5.2 Community and Education Facilities

Patrickswell has a number of well-established community and social facilities and has a number of active community groups operating within the village, involved in a wide range of activities, including sports, youth, environmental and local development. Of note, is the local environmental improvements carried out over recent years, particularly on approach roads to the village by the local Tidy Towns Group. Participation stretches across all age groups, with strong linkages into the local school, in the development of village enhancements. The Council will seek to support community-led projects that enhance the well-being of the community and assist with cultural projects that create a sense of place/enhance public spaces within the village. 







Figure 5.2: Patrickswell Community Resource Centre, under construction

In 2021, Patrickswell Community Council obtained planning permission for the construction of a new multi-purpose community hall, which includes the provision of meeting rooms, a community café and office space. Works are currently ongoing and it is anticipated that this construction will be completed in 2023. As part of a Phase 2 Village Renewal Scheme currently under construction, the Council are working with the centre to fund the civic plaza to the front of the new community building. 

The new centre is located on lands zoned Community and Education which encompasses a larger site that extends southeast towards lands zoned Open Space and Recreation.  Maximing the use of such sites will create valuable social infrastructure to serve the village. This zoning allows potential to include the use of the adjacent site as an Eco Park linking into Opportunity Site 3 Riverside Park. Eco Parks are designated areas dedicated to conservation and nature protection, these are often established within Climate Action or Sustainability projects, as there are a number of benefits such as the regeneration of local natural ecosystems, carbon sequestration and energy efficiency. Eco parks create a space in which the community interact with nature, which increases a sense of wellbeing for its users and often meet social, cultural and economic principles as part of their overall design and use.

Objective CO1 - Patrickswell Community Resource Centre: It is an objective of the Council to support further development at the Patrickswell Community Resource Centre site and adjacent lands zoned Community and Education.

In relation to education facilities, there is currently one national school within Patrickswell with an enrolment in 2022/2023 of 127 students. A number of extant planning permissions for new residential units granted within Patrickswell would provide for a significantly higher population growth. Should all permissions be realised, this may place pressure on the existing school to accommodate additional student numbers. It is essential that sufficient provision is made for the existing and anticipated educational needs of the population in line with national guidelines/future growth of the village.  In this regard, lands at the rear of the school have been zoned for Community and Educational use to allow for potential future expansion of the school, if required.

With respect to younger children, there are two providers offering preschool services and afterschool services within Patrickswell. One is operated as a community playschool and is situated within the grounds of the National School. However, the second provider is not located within the settlement boundary and is approximately 2km from the village core. 

Figure 5.3: Patrickswell National School

There is no purpose built crèche currently within the settlement, despite the growth in the number of young children with parents availing of this service in adjoining settlements and Limerick suburbs, such as Raheen/Dooradoyle.  However, it should be noted that there is one extant planning permission for a new childcare facility as part of a new residential scheme, granted under Planning Reference 18/200 and which is currently under construction. A second afterschool childcare facility is included as part of a live planning application progressing through the planning process at present (23/60144).

Objective CO2 - Community and Education Facilities: It is an objective of the Council to:

(a) Ensure provision of sufficient zoned lands to facilitate the expansion of existing and provision of new education, sports clubs, cultural facilities, healthcare facilities and community infrastructure in appropriate locations. The Council promotes multi-purpose spaces and co-use of recreational facilities.

(b) Require future development of new community facilities to generally meet the following criteria of the 10 Minute Town Concept:

-Generally located within 800m walking distance of the village centre;

 -Located centrally with respect to the community it serves, taking into account limitations of topography and the road and footpath network;

-Clustered with complementary community facilities, local retail services etc. and integrated with housing; and

-Located where a substantial proportion of the population reside, in particular older and less mobile/mobility compromised members of the community.

(c) Ensure that there are sufficient educational and community facilities to meet the needs generated by proposed developments, by requiring the completion of a Sustainability Statement and Social Infrastructure Assessment for residential developments of 10 or more dwellings.

(d) Facilitate the development of lifelong learning facilities and digital capacity for distance learning.

(e) Support and facilitate improvements to existing educational and childcare facilities within Patrickswell.

(f) Ensure that childcare and education facilities are provided in tandem with new residential areas, at accessible locations, which maximise opportunities for walking and cycling and comply with all relevant standards.

(g) Ensure that the existing school site is protected for educational use and that lands adjacent to the school are protected for future expansion of the school, if required, subject to site suitability.

(h) Ensure that any planned future expansion of the school maximises priority for pedestrians and cyclists in terms of access arrangements and the location and quantum of car and bicycle parking.

5.3 Health

Healthcare facilities in settlements outside large urban areas can range from General Practitioners, Dentists, to small health centres, pharmacies and other care related services.  Within Patrickswell, healthcare facilities include one GP (operating at limited part time hours on a weekly basis), a pharmacist and a physiotherapy centre.  Population growth anticipated for Patrickswell, as outlined in Chapter 3 will create additional need for health services within the village.  The primary role of the Planning Authority with regard to healthcare is to ensure that (a) there is an adequate policy framework in place inclusive of the reservation of lands, should services be required and; (b) healthcare facilities are permitted in line with planning requirements. Although the provision of healthcare facilities is outside the remit of the Local Area Plan, the Council will continue to support further economic and social progress with regard to health services, including capital investment in community and continuing care services.

Objective CO3 - Community and Health Facilities: It is an objective of the Council to:

Support and facilitate the development and expansion of health service infrastructure by the Health Services Executive and other statutory, voluntary agencies and private healthcare providers, in the provision of appropriate healthcare facilities and community based care facilities at appropriate locations, subject to proper planning consideration and the principles of sustainable development.

5.4 Parks, Open Space and Recreation

The village of Patrickswell is currently served by a number of community facilities, including a soccer club and a GAA club. Steeped in sporting history and central to the sense of place, supporting and facilitating the provision, expansion or improvement of Patrickswell’s sporting facilities, to serve existing and future population growth, is a key element of the plan.








Figure 5.4: Patrickswell FC Sports Grounds

While there are a number of playing pitches within the settlement boundary (both GAA and Football provision), the current provision is not adequate to serve the existing population of the village. Local sporting groups, involved in the consultation at Issues Stage in the review of the 2015 Plan outlined the requirements for additional facilities.  The local Patrickswell GAA require additional facilities to serve the club while the local Patrickswell FC outlined how the club is lacking in basic facilities resulting in difficulties in attracting new members. 

Ensuring that sufficient provision is made for the existing and anticipated recreational needs of existing local sporting clubs will ensure that these important local community clubs and groups are protected and have capacity to grow. The Council is committed to the provision, upgrade, maintenance and expansion of open space amenity and recreational opportunities in the village, in conjunction with private, public and voluntary organisations, subject to funding.

The village does not have a playground, with residents travelling to Mungret and Adare to access such facilities.  The lack of provision of play areas for younger residents was highlighted throughout the consultation of the Issues stage of the plan review.  The provision of such facilities including play areas and sporting facilities are vital for the social interaction and physical activity for both the existing population and the projected additional population envisaged over the plan period.



Figure 5.5: Barnakyle River in the Village Centre


Proposals for new community infrastructure, including the potential for new playing pitches, additional sporting facilities, play spaces and other recreation amenity are an integral element of all four opportunity sites, as set out in Chapter 4.  Opportunities exist for the provision of a shared multi-use space, infrastructure to allow for the expansion and support of sporting activities within the village, while also providing physical activity infrastructure. Further opportunities exist in maximising existing active travel linkages and creating the environment for increased permeability in new developments creating the conditions for a walkable village.

Objective CO4 - Sports and Recreational Facilities: It is an objective of the Council to:

(a) Support and facilitate sports clubs, schools, cultural groups and community organisations in the provision, improvement and expansion of community services, sports and recreation amenities and multi-purpose spaces at appropriate locations that are universally accessible. 

(b) Promote opportunities for multi and co-use active and passive recreational amenities including sports and recreational facilities, playgrounds and outdoor gym equipment within existing areas of open space.

(c) Protect existing open space by not permitting development, which encroaches on such open space, and protect semi-natural open space from inappropriate development and facilitate/support the provision of allotments or community gardens at appropriate locations.

(d) Ensure new residential development provides high quality public open space and play-lots proportional to the number of residential units, having cognisance to accessibility, safety, permeability, place-making and requirements set out in Table 5.1.

(e) Support the implementation of amenity and recreational facilities for the village as outlined in Table 4.1: Opportunity Sites - Development Potential/ Principles.

The strategic vision for Patrickswell, set out in Chapter 3 of the Limerick Development Plan 2022-2028 recognises that if Patrickswell is to fulfil its role as a Level 4 settlement, community infrastructure needs to be provided in tandem with population growth.

Public open space is an integral part of any residential development. A variety of types and sizes of public open space should be provided with passive surveillance by the residents. Residential development should incorporate appropriate provision of quality public open space and play lots in accordance with the Limerick Development Plan 2022-2028. The following table provides a hierarchy of Open Space within residential estates.

Table 5.1: Open Space Hierarchy within Residential Estates

Type of Public Open



Accessibility from

residential units



Play Lot/ Pocket Park, primarily catering for play of  younger children


400m2 - 0.2ha.


Every home within 100m walking distance


  • All residential areas in excess of 50 units should incorporate a play lot provided at a rate of 4sqm per residential unit;
  • Play lots should be overlooked with sufficient passive surveillance by as many houses as possible;
  • Not permitted to side or rear of dwellings;
  • Developer will be required to provide a minimum of two permanent play low maintenance features on site. The design shall reflect nature based play solutions.

Small Park

0.2ha. - 2ha.

Every residential unit within 400m walking distance


  • To accommodate a small playground with a minimum of 4 play features, kick around space, and passive recreation;
  • Must be overlooked with passive surveillance by as many houses as is practicable;
  • Not permitted to side or rear of dwellings.

Local Park

2ha. - 20ha.

Residences to be within 1km


  • To accommodate a wide range of uses including playing pitches, teenage space, passive recreation and biodiversity areas.

5.5 Amenity Walkways and Cycle Routes

The identification of possible amenity walkways and cycle routes throughout the village and linking the village to other settlements and Limerick City, forms an important part of the plan. In addition, improving permeability through the creation of linkages and connections to existing and future amenities will be paramount to the success of the provision of these facilities. 





Figure 5.6: Western Entrance to Patrickswell


The provision of additional active travel connections for both commuter and leisure use is a critical component in transitioning to a more climate resilient society. The Council are currently examining proposals for active travel connections from Limerick City via Patrickswell and onward to join the Limerick Greenway.

This network would provide further opportunities for active mobility by walking and cycling into the wider Greenway network and adjoining Counties. The provision of active travel connections is set out under Chapter 7.

Objective CO5 - New Amenity Areas Walkways and Cycleways: It is an objective of the Council to:

(a) Continue to facilitate the development of walkways and cycleways as indicated on the Amenity and Sustainable Transport Map (Appendix 1, Map 3) in co-operation with local interested parties, including the private, voluntary and public sector subject to funding. Any proposed development adjacent to walkways must incorporate connecting pathways into the designated walkway in their design. Developments shall be designed to overlook proposed walkways and shall link existing and proposed residential areas to each other, to amenity areas and to provide connections to the village centre.

(b) Encourage walking and cycling as more convenient, popular and safe methods of movement in Patrickswell, and facilitate the provision of an attractive and coherent network of off-road footpaths and cycle facilities. This will be achieved by:

  • Promoting the existing cycle scheme from Patrickswell to Limerick as both a commuter and recreational option.
  • Support the provision of a new Greenway linking Patrickswell with Rathkeale and the wider Greenway \ Active Travel network.
  • Providing secure cycle parking facilities at appropriate locations as opportunities arise.
  • Promotion of a walking loop and continuous pedestrian connectivity within the village, including maximising on permeability and proposed linkages as outlined in Opportunity Site 2 and Opportunity Site 4 in Table 4.1: Opportunity Sites - Development Potential/ Principles