- Housing Protection Areas
The 1994 Development Plan identified a number of Housing Protection Areas in the city within which any change of use from residential units would be strictly resisted. To ensure a vibrant city centre, it is essential to maintain and facilitate an increase in its residential population. Therefore these housing protection areas will be maintained, and are illustrated in Figure 4.1.
- To strictly resist the change of use of residential units in the designated ‘Housing Protection Areas’.
- Quality in Design
In continuing to increase the number of houses the Councils must ensure that they achieve quality in terms of neighbourhoods and homes, and choice in terms of location and the tenures available.
Quality in this context means the development of sustainable, integrated neighbourhoods which are much less car dependant and are more easily served by public transport. Additional features of sustainable neighbourhoods include:
- compact, energy efficient and high quality urban development;
- accessibility via public transport networks and also meeting the needs of the pedestrian and cyclist; and
- provision of a good range of amenities and services within easy and safe walking distance of homes.
The provision of additional housing throughout the city offers an opportunity to deliver new development of the highest physical and environmental quality that contributes to the achievement of more sustainable communities and balanced regional development.
The sustainability of communities is dependant on a balanced pace of development. Any development must reflect its context, and associated infrastructure must be provided to ensure that a coherent sense of place and sense of community is preserved. This approach will ensure any new development will respect the scale and character of the settlement.
Over the period of the previous Development Plan the Council prepared two Local Area Plans for the Western Environs and the City Centre. During the evolution of that process, policies and objectives were devised to include linking the development of new housing with the provision of essential supporting physical and social infrastructure and services. Within each Local Area Plan, guidance is given on the achievement of high quality urban design appropriate to the particular settlement coupled with the development of a compact and sustainable settlement.
The appropriate residential density in any particular location will be determined by the following:
- The extent to which the design and layout follows a coherent design brief resulting in a high quality residential environment;
- Compliance with qualitative and quantitative criteria set out in the subsequent Development Management Section;
- Proximity to points of access to the public transport network;
- Existing topographical, landscape or other features on the site, and;
- The capacity of the infrastructure, including social and community facilities, to absorb the demands created by the development.
The choice as to the level of residential density appropriate to a given area cannot therefore be considered in simple arithmetic terms for all development sites as a single numerical value. Rather, the identification of a given density and the question of its appropriateness should be determined by spatial planning and architectural design criteria, determined by the context of a given site and the relationship to the overall proper planning and sustainable development of that centre.
It follows from this approach that there will be no set minimum or maximum density specified in the Plan. The emphasis will be on providing quality housing environments based on innovation and a design-led approach.
- Emphasise quality, innovation and a design-led approach in all housing development with proposals appropriate to each site and location.
- Community Facilities
Community facilities are essential to the well-being and functioning of populated areas. These facilities include health clinics, hospitals, schools, churches, shopping facilities, libraries, community halls, burial grounds etc.
The primary role of the Planning Authority is to reserve sufficient lands within the settlement centres to meet likely future demands for community infrastructure. A recurring problem with respect to the provision of this infrastructure is its timely provision in conjunction with new housing. The Local Area Plans will seek to resolve this current problem by linking the provision of community facilities to increases in residential population within large residential areas by means of phasing arrangements.
The preferred option for the Planning Authority is for new and existing buildings to facilitate and provide for a range of compatible community uses. The Planning Authority will investigate opportunities for multi-purpose use to ensure that communities are best served without duplication of effort. It is important that the greatest possible use of a building is made, thereby providing community and leisure facilities close to the areas where they are needed.
- Reserve sites for community facilities as appropriate and to seek to remedy deficiencies in existing developed areas.
- Link the provision of community facilities to increases in residential population through phasing arrangements in the Local Area Plans to ensure the timely provision of facilities.
- Locate community facilities within existing settlements and where population levels warrant a particular service.
- Liaise with community groups and to assist community initiatives subject to the availability of resources.
- To ensure that, where practicable, community, recreational and open space facilities are clustered, with the community facilities being located in local centres or combined with school facilities as appropriate. Community facilities should be located close to or within walking distance of housing, accessible to all sectors of the community and facilitate multi-use functions through their design and layout.
- Childcare Facilities
The provision of childcare facilities is recognised as a strategic piece of social infrastructure required to enable people to participate more fully in society, particularly in accessing employment, education and social networks. National policy on childcare facilities is set out in Childcare Facilities Guidelines for Planning Authorities (2001). Government policy on childcare is to increase the number of childcare places and facilities available and to improve the quality of childcare services for the community.
New residential areas have been identified as an important location for the provision of childcare facilities and it is considered that provision should be made for purpose built, easily accessible facilities in new developments of 75 dwellings or more.
A County Childcare Strategy has been prepared by Kilkenny County Childcare Committee. This provides the over-arching policy framework for the provision of childcare in the county. The Councils are working with Kilkenny County Childcare Committee, through its role on the CDB, to improve the quality, provision and affordability of childcare in the county.
- Facilitate the provision of childcare facilities in a sustainable manner in appropriate locations which include the following: larger new housing estates, industrial estates and business parks, in the vicinity of schools, neighbourhood and district centres and adjacent to public transport facilities.
- To require the provision of appropriate purpose built childcare facilities in association with proposals for new residential development of more than 75 dwelling units. Where appropriate the Councils will operate this requirement in a flexible manner and will encourage and facilitate cooperation between developers to jointly provide facilities, having regard to the Kilkenny County Childcare Strategy.
- In so far as possible, the provision of childcare facilities should be adjacent to, or co-located with, other facilities required for other community use.
- To assess, in conjunction with the Kilkenny County Childcare Committee and the County Development Board, the continuing needs around childcare and related facilities and review progress on the provision of same during the period of this Plan.
- Primary and Post Primary Schools
Where new schools are required, they should be located close to, or within the main residential areas so that as many children/students as possible can walk or cycle to school. The opportunity should be taken to locate the schools so that they naturally contribute to the development of a sense of community in new neighbourhoods. Where possible, these schools should be served by a dedicated and safe footpath and cycle-way network.
- Dual Use of School Buildings
School and other educational premises represent a valuable resource in terms of land and buildings, which generally is only used on a partial basis. The dual use of educational facilities, where it does not conflict with the delivery of the education service (i.e. outside school hours and during school holidays) can contribute to meeting the wider needs of the community, by helping to satisfy demand for a variety of activities. The DoEHLG Guidelines on Childcare Facilities recommend the use of school premises to cater for after school care and school authorities are encouraged to examine how they can help address this demand.
Where lands and buildings can be beneficially used by the community, the Councils will promote such uses subject to available resources. Where new schools are proposed and indeed other community facilities, opportunities will be sought to ensure that they are designed in such a way as to facilitate dual use from the onset.
- Social Capital
Social Capital may be defined as that which accrues to a person or group as a result of their active participation in the life of their communities. For example, social capital is said to be gained from neighbourliness, local area networking or volunteering. Something as simple as being known to the local shop-keeper, chemist or publican is said to have benefits for the well-being of individuals within the social capital debate.
Kilkenny local authorities are committed to the Agenda 21 process of building partnerships between local authorities and other sectors to develop and implement local policies for the development of sustainable communities. This commitment involves a wide range of public consultation in the actions taken by the local authority from plan making and policy formulation to implementation of specific projects such as playgrounds.
In 2002 the County Development Board Strategy for Economic, Social & Cultural Development 2002-2012 was prepared. The main representation for the voluntary sector is through the Community and Voluntary Forum which is the mechanism for supporting a collective voice for the community and voluntary sector. There is representation on a number of structures in the county in order to inform policy, such as the County Development Board itself and its subcommittees (including SIM — Social Inclusion Measures subgroup), Strategic Policy Committees and Expanded Area Committees.
It is through these measures that the local authorities will seek to build social capital within the county.
- To make Kilkenny an attractive place to live and work by building strong, inclusive communities that have a sense of place and belonging, with adequate provision of and access to services and facilities to meet the needs of the city’s growing population.
- To work with other relevant organisations, through the County Development Board, to facilitate the provision of public and social services in areas of identified need throughout the city.
- To work with the County Development Board and its sub-structures, to advance social inclusion and development by developing the co-ordinated delivery of services and facilities in the city.
- To promote the development of social capital by providing opportunities for interaction, participation and the co-ordinated provision of public services.