Chapter 1: Introduction

opendate_range28 Sep, 2020, 9:00am - 9 Dec, 2020, 4:00pm

1.1 Introduction

The Wexford County Development Plan 2021-2027 sets out the overall strategy for the proper planning and sustainable development of County Wexford for the plan period and beyond. The Plan relates to the whole functional area of Wexford County Council including the areas previously under the jurisdiction of Wexford Borough Council, New Ross Town and Enniscorthy Town1.  

1.2 What is the County Development Plan?

The County Development Plan, hereafter referred to as the Plan, sets out the strategic spatial planning framework to guide the development of the county for the six year period of the plan and beyond. The Plan provides for the physical, economic and social development of the county and sets out the guiding strategies, objectives and standards for this development.  

The Plan builds on the strategies and objectives of the previous County Development Plan 2013-2019 and reflects the current challenges and the opportunities facing the county. The Plan seeks to reconcile the need to protect the environment with the development required to meet the needs and aspirations of the people of County Wexford.

The review process and preparation of the Plan has had regard to key recent development trends and national, regional and local policy developments, in particular, the National Planning Framework, Rebuilding Ireland, Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy for the Southern Region and the Local Government Reform Act, 2014, in particular, the Council’s enhanced role in the promotion of economic and community development.  

1.3 Legislative Context

The Plan has been prepared in accordance with the relevant EU Directives, national legislation and guidelines. 

1.3.1 Planning and Development Act, 2000 (as amended) 

The Plan has been prepared in accordance with the Planning and Development Act, 2000 (as amended) which sets out the statutory requirements and content of a development plan. In accordance with the Act, the Plan is strategic in nature for the purposes of developing objectives to deliver an overall strategy for the proper planning and sustainable development of the county and has taken account of the statutory obligations of the Council and the relevant policies or objectives of the Government or Ministers of the Government. 

The Plan includes a written statement and plans indicating the development objectives for the plan area. It includes a Core Strategy which shows that the objectives in the Plan are consistent, as far as practicable, with national and regional development objectives set out in the National Planning Framework (NPF) and the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy for the Southern Region (RSES).

The Strategic Environmental Assessment and the associated SEA Statement in Volume 12 demonstrates that the objectives of the development plan are consistent, as far as practicable, with the conservation of the environment as required by Section 10(1D) of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended).

The Act also requires the Planning Authority to append a statement to the Plan which demonstrates how the policies and objectives of Section 28 Guidelines have been implemented, or not as the case may be, in preparing the Plan. This statement is contained in Volume 4.

Section 10(2) of the Act lists the mandatory objectives which have, where relevant, been incorporated in the Plan. These include:

  • Zoning of land for particular purposes;
  • Provision, or facilitation of the provision, of infrastructure including transport; energy and communication facilities, water supplies, waste water services, waste recovery and disposal facilities and any ancillary facilities or services;
  • Conservation and protection of the environment including in particular the archaeological and natural heritage and the conservation and protection of European sites; Management of features of the landscape such as traditional field boundaries, important for the ecological coherence of the Natura 2000 network;
  • Promotion of compliance with environmental standards and objectives established for bodies of surface waters and groundwater;
  • Integration of the planning and sustainable development of the area with the social, community and cultural requirements of the area and its population;
  • Preservation of the character of the landscape, including the preservation of views and prospects and the amenities of places and features of natural beauty or interest
  • Protection of structures, or parts of structures, which are of special architectural, historical, archaeological, artistic, cultural, scientific, social or technical interest,
  • Preservation of the character of architectural conservation areas;
  • Development and renewal of areas, identified having regard to the core strategy, that are in need of regeneration in order to prevent adverse effects on existing amenities in such areas in particular as a result of the ruinous or neglected condition of any land, urban blight or decay, anti-social behaviour or a shortage of habitable houses or of land suitable for residential use or a mixture of residential use or other uses; 
  • Provision of accommodation for travellers and the use of particular areas for that purpose;
  • Preservation, improvement and extension of amenities and recreational amenities;
  • Control of establishments under the provisions of the Major Accidents Directive;
  • Provision, or facilitation of the provision, of services for the community, including, in particular, schools, crèches and other education and childcare facilities;
  • Protection of the linguistic and cultural heritage of the Gaeltacht where there is a Gaeltacht in the area of the Plan;
  • Promotion of sustainable settlement and transportation strategies in urban and rural areas including the promotion of measures to reduce energy demand, reduce anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and address the necessity of adaptation to climate change in particular having regard to the location, layout and design of new development;
  • Preservation of public rights of way which give access to seashore, mountain, lakeshore, riverbank or other places of natural beauty or recreational utility; and  
  • Provide a framework for the identification, assessment, protection, management and planning of landscapes. 

The First Schedule of the Act also sets out a list of discretionary objectives which have, where appropriate, been incorporated into the Plan. 

Section 19 of the Planning and Development Act, 2000 (as amended) requires either the preparation of a local area plan or the indication of objectives in a development plan for towns with a population greater than 1,500 persons. Based on Census 2016, there are 9 such settlements in the county. Table 1 -1 sets out the planning authority’s spatial planning framework for each settlement: 

Table 1-1 Spatial Planning Framework for Settlements >1,500 persons

Settlement

Population Census 2016

Local Area Plan or Specific Objectives in CDP

Wexford Town

20,188

LAP to be prepared

Enniscorthy Town

11,381

LAP to be prepared

Gorey Town

9,822

LAP 2017-2023

New Ross Town

8,040

LAP to be prepared

Bunclody Town2

1,984

Specific objectives and land use zoning are contained in Volume 3 of the CDP.

Courtown and Riverchapel

3,591

LAP 2015-2021(as extended)

Rosslare Harbour and Kilrane3

1,847

Specific objectives and land use zoning are contained in Volume 3 of the CDP.

Castlebridge

1,840

Specific objectives contained in Volume 3 of the CDP. 

Rosslare Strand

1,620

Specific objectives contained in Volume 3 of the CDP. 

1.3.2 Strategic Environmental Assessment

Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is the formal, systematic evaluation of the likely significant effects of implementing a plan or programme before the decision is made to adopt the plan or programme. The purpose of the SEA Directive (2001/42/EC) is to provide for a high level of protection of the environment and to contribute to the integration of environmental considerations into the preparation of plans and programmes with a view to promoting sustainable developments. 

The SEA of the Plan has been carried out in accordance with the SEA Directive and transposing national regulations. An SEA Environmental Report was prepared in conjunction with the Plan and is contained in Volume 12. The report describes the likely significant effects of implementing the plan and outlines the measures to maximise positive effects and reduce or offset potential adverse effects. The report also identifies the methods for monitoring environmental effects over the lifetime of the Plan. 

1.3.3 Appropriate Assessment

Articles 6(3) and 6(4) of the Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC) place an obligation on competent authorities to consider the effects of every plan and project on European sites (Natura 2000 network of sites) through a process known as Appropriate Assessment. A Natura Impact Report was prepared to assess the Draft Plan and it was determined that the Plan, alone or in combination with other plans or projects, would not adversely affect the integrity of European sites. 
The Council will ensure, during the period of the Plan, that all plans and projects in the plan area which are likely to have a significant effect on a Natura 2000 site, either individually or in combination with other plans and projects, shall be subject to appropriate assessment of their implications for the site in view of the site’s conservation objectives. 

1.3.4 Strategic Flood Risk Assessment

The Section 28 ‘The Planning System and Flood Risk Management-Guidelines for Planning Authorities’ (DEHLG and OPW 2009) requires local authorities to land use plans to be subject to a strategic flood risk assessment to identify potential flood risk in the plan area. A Strategic Flood Risk Assessment was carried out as part of the process of preparing the Plan and it is contained in Volume 11. 

1.4 Format of the Plan

The Plan contains a Written Statement and accompanying volumes as follows: 

Volume 1 - Written Statement

This constitutes the main body of the document outlining the vision, Core Strategy and objectives of the Plan. The written statement is accompanied by a set of maps which give visual representation to strategies and objectives in the Plan.

Volume 2 - Development Management Standards

The development management manual sets out the standards for different types of development and land uses that will be applied in the assessment of planning applications.

Volume 3 - Settlement Plans

This volume includes land use zoning maps and specific objectives for Rosslare Harbour and Kilrane and Bunclody Town. It also includes specific objectives for Rosslare Strand and Castlebridge.

Volume 4 - Section 28 Statement of Compliance

This volume has been prepared in accordance with Section 28 of the Planning and Development act, 2000 (as amended) and outlines how the relevant Guidelines have been implemented in the Draft Plan.

Volume 5 - Record of Protected Structures

The Record contains the list of Protected Structures. These structures are considered worthy of protection due to their special interest from an architectural, historical, archaeological, artistic, cultural, scientific, social and or technical perspective. The Record also now includes the structures previously protected under the Wexford, Enniscorthy and New Ross town development plans.

Volume 6 - Architectural Conservation Areas

This volume provides a list and maps of all adopted and proposed Architectural Conservation Areas (ACAs) in the county. It also provides guidance and common objectives on conservation and enhancement of ACAs and for the management of change in these areas.

Volume 7 - Landscape Character Assessment

The landscape character assessment identifies the landscape character units in the county. It also assigns a sensitivity rating to the landscape character units and contains objectives to manage change in our landscapes.

Volume 8 - Retail Strategy

The Retail Strategy has been prepared in accordance with the Guidelines for Planning Authorities: Retail Planning (Department of Environment, Community and Local Government, 2012).

Volume 9 - Housing Strategy

The Housing Strategy has been prepared in accordance with Part V of the Planning and Development Act, 2000 (as amended). It also incorporates elements of Housing Need Demand Assessment (HNDA).

Volume 10 - Energy Strategy

This Strategy relates to all types of energy developments and includes the objectives and development management standards relating to future energy developments in the county. The strategy sets out renewable energy resource targets for County Wexford by 2027 which will contribute to both national renewable energy targets and the transition to a low carbon economy. The Strategy recognises the importance of not only generating and supplying energy by renewable means, but balancing this with more energy efficient practices.

Volume 11 - Strategic Flood Risk Assessment

The SFRA identifies the nature of flood risk in the county and the settlements listed in Levels 1 to 5 of the Core Strategy, includes detailed flood risk assessments for Rosslare Harbour and Kilrane and Bunclody Town and development management advice and flood risk management objectives.

Volume 12 - Strategic Environmental Assessment

The Strategic Environmental  Assessment  Report identifies, evaluates and describes the likely significant effects on the environment of implementing the Plan and identifies appropriate mitigation measures.

Volume 13 - Natura Impact Report

The Natura Impact Report sets out the Appropriate Assessment of the Plan and includes the associated determination.

1.5 Monitoring and Implementation

It is important for a Plan to be monitored to assess its effectiveness and to ensure the implementation of its objectives. A development plan must also be able to respond to changing circumstances during its lifetime. 

Monitoring will identify issues with objectives and allow suitable corrective action to be taken. It will also identify whether the Plan remains consistent with national and regional policy, and where changes occur at national and/or regional level, advise whether the Plan should be varied as necessary to ensure consistency with these higher level plans.
In accordance with Section 15 of the Act, within two years of making the Plan, the Chief Executive must give a report to Members of the Planning Authority on the progress achieved in securing the objectives in the Plan. The Planning Authority can take such steps within its powers as may be necessary for securing the objectives of the Plan. 
The Development Plan Guidelines for Planning Authorities (Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government, 2007) recommend that an annual monitoring and evaluation report is prepared. This report will facilitate the identification of any issues concerning the implementation of the Plan. It will inform the two-year review required by Section 15 of the Act. It will also inform the mandatory review of the existing Plan and preparation of a new Plan required by Section 11 of the Act, which must be commenced not later than four years after the making of the Plan.   

1.6 Underlying Themes

The Plan addresses a wide range of interrelated economic, social and environmental issues set within an overall framework of achieving sustainable development, social inclusion and adapting to climate change. 

1.6.1 Sustainable Development

The Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended) requires a development plan to deliver an overall strategy for the proper planning and sustainable development of the county. The Council, for the purposes of the Plan, defines proper planning and sustainable development as ensuring that a balance is achieved between economic, social, cultural and environmental considerations in the interests of the common good of present and future generations of the county. 

The United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for achieving sustainable development in its three dimensions-economic, social and environmental (see Figure 1). Many of these SDGs are relevant to this Plan including climate action, sustainable cities and communities, industry, innovation and infrastructure, economic growth, clean energy, clean water, quality education and good health and well-being. These SDGs inform and underpin the Plan which is focused on the integration of employment, transport, schools, community facilities, amenities and sustainable urban and rural settlements as key mechanisms for achieving sustainability.

There is significant alignment between the UN Sustainable Development Goals and this Plan, particularly, good health and well-being, education, environmental quality, clean energy, economic growth, sustainable communities and climate action.

Figure 1-1 UN Sustainable Development Goals

1.6.2 Climate Action

Climate change brings both challenges and opportunities for County Wexford. The Council is committed to addressing climate change in a proactive manner through the careful consideration of growth and development. The Plan seeks to protect, mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change, Climate action is integrated into every chapter and strategy in the plan. Each chapter includes a sub-section outlining how the spatial strategy and objectives have been climate proofed and/or will contribute to mitigation and adaptation to climate change. 

1.6.3 Social Inclusion, Accessibility and Age Friendly 

Social inclusion is a process which assists people to participate fully in life from an economic, social and cultural perspective. People can be excluded from society if they do not have equal access to services, facilities, resources and opportunities. The Council is committed to developing a socially inclusive society in County Wexford and the Plan focuses on promoting and facilitating social inclusion for everyone in the county. The Plan has identified target groups which include children and young people, carers, older people, people with disabilities, ethnic minority groups and the Traveller community. 

  • 1- The Local Government Reform Act, 2014 provided for the abolition of Wexford Borough Council, Enniscorthy Town Council and New Ross Town Council, all of which would have previously had their own development plans.
  • 2-  This includes Carrickduff which is in the jurisdiction of Carlow County Council.
  • 3- The population of Ballygeary (Rosslare Harbour) was 1,200 and the population of Kilrane was 647 giving a combined total of 1,847

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