Limerick City and County Council is preparing a new Local Area Plan (LAP) for the town of Rathkeale. The LAP is a statutory document prepared by the Planning Authority, in accordance with the requirements of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended). The existing Rathkeale LAP was extended, until 2022 under Section 19 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended). A new plan is now required to replace the existing LAP for the 2022—2028 period. The LAP will set out a land use strategy for the proper planning and sustainable development of the town to comply with the provisions of the Limerick Development Plan 2022—2028 when adopted in 2022.  The LAP will consist of a written statement and maps indicating objectives for zoning of land, residential development, economic development, community infrastructure, built and natural heritage , open space and recreation, active travel and transport, environmental protection and climate change/adaptation. The LAP must be consistent with the objectives of the higher order plans, including the Development Plan and its population growth target for Rathkeale, the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy for the Southern Region  (RSES) and the National Planning Framework (NPF)

 Public consultation is an important aspect of any plan making process in order to address issues and concerns which relate to the LAP area, and to ensure that the final LAP acknowledges community aspirations and concerns. This Issues Paper relates to the non-statutory “Pre-Draft” stage of the Local Area Plan preparation process. This “Pre-Draft” phase will be followed by preparation of the Draft LAP when a further 6 week period of public consultation will be undertaken. The Issues Paper aims to encourage interest and debate and invites submissions or observations. The Local Area Plan can have an important bearing on all aspects of life with planning applications assessed against the zoning and other objectives in the plan. The content of submissions or observations are not limited to the issues outlined in this paper.