Chapter 13: Heritage and Conservation

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

13.1 Introduction

Heritage is defined in the Heritage Act, 1995 as including monuments, archaeology, heritage objects, architecture, flora, fauna, wildlife habitats, landscapes, seascapes, wrecks, geology, heritage gardens and parks and inland waterways. Heritage is therefore all around us, it is reflected in the landscape in which we live and it is reflected in how we perceive that very landscape. Aspects of our heritage help to define us and they contribute to the development of a strong sense of identity and pride making it a unique resource. In addition, heritage is essential to our economy being one of our greatest selling points in the domestic and international tourism markets. We must insure that this precious inheritance is not threatened and is preserved to be experienced and enjoyed by all including future generations.

The Plan identifies objectives to ensure the protection of the natural, built and cultural heritage of the county and provides the spatial framework and objectives for its protection either directly by the Council, or by supporting its protection through other responsible agencies. The plan seeks to protect a diverse range of the county’s heritage, both designated and undesignated sites, including Natura 2000 sites, geological sites, nature reserves, archaeological sites, protected structures, architectural conservation areas and the county’s biodiversity such as hedgerows.
Wexford County Council also recognises the need to integrate our built, cultural and natural heritage, which all have intrinsic value in defining the character of urban and rural areas and adding to their attractiveness and sense of place. 

This chapter contains the Councils policies on natural heritage and built heritage. Landscape and green Infrastructure are dealt with in Chapter 11 and Volume7.

13.1.1 Climate Action and Heritage

  • Promoting features which act as carbon sinks such as, retention and extension of forests and wetlands and protection and enhancement of green infrastructure, biodiversity, ecosystems and habitats.
  • Encourage the retention and reuse of existing structures. Making use of existing buildings before building  new structures reduces demolition waste which accounts for a large percentage of landfill and which is an environmental burden, while the production and/or importation of new building materials accounts for a significant amount of energy use.
  • Support thermal upgrading of historic buildings (in line with recommended guidance1 and European Performance of Buildings Directive 2010 (as amended)) to enhance performance and reduce energy consumption. 

13.1.2 Policy Context

The preparation of this chapter has had regard to relevant national legislation and guidelines, regional and local plans and policies, and in particular, the need to ensure that the Plan is compliant with the Birds Directive, the Habitats Directive and all other relevant EU and national legislation and regulations in relation to the protection of the natural, built and cultural heritage of the county.

A new National Heritage Plan “Heritage Ireland 2030 “is currently being drafted by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. It will be a coherent, comprehensive and inspiring framework of values, principles, strategic priorities and actions to guide and inform the heritage sector over the next decade.
The National Planning Framework through NSO7 and NPO60 highlights the rich qualities of our natural and cultural heritage and their conservation and enhancement in an appropriate manner to their significance. The Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy for the Southern Region recognises the value of our combined heritage and the contribution it makes to our settlements and rural areas made up of a diverse range of key assets that require careful protection. Biodiversity is a primary indicator of the health of our surroundings RPO126 and RP202, RPO205 and RPO206 sets out recommendations to ensure and support this and the diverse range of key asset that make up our heritage.

Ireland is a signatory to the worldwide Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the
Government is committed through this process to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity. At national level biodiversity policy is set out in the National Biodiversity Plan (NBP) which
identifies habitat degradation and loss as the main factor eroding biodiversity in Ireland today. 

The Convention for the Protection of the Architectural Heritage of Europe (The Granada Convention), drawn up by the Council of Europe and signed at Granada in 1985, was ratified by Ireland in 1997. As a result, comprehensive and systematic legislative provisions for the protection of the architectural heritage were introduced by the Government as part of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended). There are a significant number of Section 28 and other government Guidelines which relate directly to our natural and built heritage.  The Architectural Heritage Protection – guidelines for planning authorities (2011), published by the Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht is the main planning policy guidance document in respect of our built heritage. The Department has also issued a range of publications under its Advice Series to provide more detailed guidance and advice on historic building materials and issues e.g. maintenance, access, windows, iron, and brickwork.

Other relevant guidance includes the Framework and Principles for the Protection of Archaeological Heritage (DAHGI, 1999) and Appropriate Assessment of Plans and Projects in Ireland - Guidelines for Planning Authorities (DEHLG, 2009).

The County Wexford Biodiversity Action Plan 2013 aim is to create and promote an increased knowledge, awareness and appreciation of the natural heritage and biodiversity of County Wexford and to conserve it for future generations to enjoy. The preparation of the plan included a substantial audit of biodiversity in the county both within and outside of designated sites, and this information will be used in the development management process. 

13.1.3 Goal

The overall goal is to protect, conserve and where appropriate enhance the natural, built and cultural heritage of the county and to encourage all to appreciate, enjoy, understand and care for our heritage to help enhance and secure it for future generations.  

13.1.4 Strategy

  • To sustainably manage the competing pressures on the natural and built heritage in the county;
  • To conserve and protect sites and species, both designated and undesignated for their ecological or environmental sensitivity;
  • To protect upland peat and bog areas and to ensure their protection from inappropriate recreational use (such as quad bikes);
  • To ensure the sustainable management and conservation of areas of natural and geological heritage within the county;
  • To protect and enhance the character of the built environment;
  • To protect the archaeology of the county;
  • To promote the cultural heritage of the county.
  • To increase investment in heritage from economic returns it generates from society.

Improve heritage information, guidance and advice for the general public whilst making it accessible to all.

It is the objective of the Council:

Objective HT01

On adoption of the National Heritage Plan “Heritage 2030” to commence the preparation of a County Heritage Plan to assist the management and promotion of our valuable heritage in a sustainable manner.

Objective HT02

To ensure that the use of our heritage assets are managed, preserved and presented in a manner that does not adversely impact on the intrinsic value of these assets whilst supporting economic renewal and sustainable development. 

Objective HT03

To promote initiatives that provide better public access for all visitors to our historic built and natural environment. Wexford County Council will ensure that decision making on projects/developments to improve access and facilities are informed by an appropriate level of environmental assessment.

13.2 Natural Heritage

Natural heritage, often referred to as biodiversity, is the variety of life, its physical or geological foundation and the landscapes which form our surroundings. Biodiversity includes everything from trees to weeds, from mammals to birds, from coast to countryside. Biodiversity is important for many things including food, fertile soils and clean air and water. It is therefore important that the development objectives in the Plan are balanced with objectives which ensure that the county’s natural heritage is protected, conserved and enhanced.

This plan provides objectives to protect designated ecological sites (as detailed in Section 13.2.1 to 13.2.8 below) and protected species2 , and ecological connectivity (including stepping stones and corridors; such features are those which, by virtue of their linear and continuous structure (such as rivers with their banks or the traditional systems for marking field boundaries) or their function as stepping stones (such as ponds or small woods), are essential for the migration, dispersal and genetic exchange of wild species)3 and non-designated habitats. It also includes objectives to protect Salmonid Waters4 , Shellfish Waters,  Flora Protection Order sites, watercourses, wetlands and peatlands and other sites of high biodiversity value or ecological importance, e.g. BirdWatch Ireland’s ‘Important Bird Areas’ (Crowe et al., 2009).

13.2.1 Natura 2000 Sites

Natura 2000 sites are a network of sites of the highest biodiversity importance in Europe designated under the EU Birds Directive (79/409/EEC) and the EU Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC). They are comprised of Special Protection Areas (SPA) which provide for the protection and conservation of particular bird species and bird habitats and Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) which provide protection and conservation of habitats and species (other than birds).

Wexford has a particularly rich natural heritage and this is reflected in the number and importance of the Natura 2000 sites in the county. These are listed on Table No. 13.1 and are shown on Map No. 2a, including Natura 2000 sites within fifteen kilometre distance from the Plan boundary. There are currently twelve SACs, three candidate SACs and nine SPAs within the Plan boundary. There are a further three SACs, two candidate SACs and two SPAs within 15 kilometres of the Plan boundary.  The habitats and species in each of these sites are discussed in further detail in the Natura Impact Report.

In accordance with Articles 6(3) and 6(4) of the Habitats Directive, the Council will ensure that all plans and projects are screened to assess, in the view of best scientific knowledge, if the plan or project, individually or in combination with another plan or project is likely  to have a significant effect on a Natura 2000 site(s). Such a plan or project may be located within the designated site, in proximity to it or linked to it hydrologically or otherwise have an interdependence (such as   feeding, roosting or nesting grounds). In assessing such applications, regard shall be had to the detailed conservation management plans and data reports prepared by NPWS, where available, to the identified features of interest of the site, the identified conservation objectives to ensure the maintenance or restoration of the features of interests to favourable conservation status, the NPWS Article 17 current conservation status reports, the underlying site specific conditions, and the known threats to achieving the conservation objectives of the site.

In the event that the screening indicates that the plan or project will, either directly or indirectly, on its own or in combination with other plans and projects, have a significant effect on a Natura 2000 site(s), the plan or project must be the subject of a full Appropriate Assessment.

Having considered the conclusions of the Appropriate Assessment, the Planning Authority shall agree to the plan or project only if satisfied that it will not adversely affect the integrity of the site concerned or, where in the absence of alternative solutions, the plan or project is deemed imperative for reasons of overriding public interest pursuant to Article 6(4) of the Habitats Directive.

Table 13.1 Natura 2000 Sites in County Wexford and within 15km of the Plan Boundary

Site Name

SAC Site No.

SPA Site No.

Ballyteige Burrow

000696 (candidate)

004020

Bannow Bay

000697

004033

Cahore Polders and Dunes

000700

 

Lady’s Island Lake

000704

004009

Saltee Islands

000707

004002

Screen Hills

000708

 

Tacumshin Lake

000709

004092

Raven Point Nature Reserve

000710

004019

Hook Head

000764

 

Blackstairs Mountains

000770

 

Slaney River Valley

000781(candidate)

 

Kilmuckridge-Tinnabearna Sandhills

001741

 

Kilpatrick Sandhills

001742

 

River Barrow and River Nore

002162 (candidate)

 

Wexford Harbour and Slobs

 

004076

Keeragh Islands

 

004118

Cahore Marshes

 

004143

Carnsore Point

002269

 

Sites within 15km of the Plan Boundary

Tramore Dunes and Backstrand

000671

 

Buckroney-Brittas Dunes and Fen

000729 (candidate)

 

Lower River Suir

002137 (candidate)

 

Tramore Back Strand

 

004027

River Nore

 

004233

Long Bank

002161

 

Blackwater Bank

002953

 

13.2.2 Natural Heritage Areas and County Geological Sites

The Wildlife Acts (1976-2012) provide for the statutory protection of species and habitats of national importance and sites of geological interest and the control of activities which may impact adversely on the conservation of wildlife. Under the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000, Natural Heritage Areas (NHAs) are designated to conserve species and habitats of national importance and sites of geological interest. The designation of these sites is the responsibility of the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). 

The basic designation for wildlife is the Natural Heritage Area (NHA). This is an area considered important for the habitats present or which holds species of plants and animals whose habitat needs protection. There are thirty one proposed Natural Heritage Areas  (pNHA) as listed in Table 13.2 and on Map 2a. None of the sites listed below have been formally designated by Statutory Instrument. These areas can overlap with Natura 2000 sites, but they are designated under separate legislation (Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000) and are designated for different interests.

Table 13.2 Proposed Natural Heritage Areas and Proposed Ecological Natural Heritage Areas

Site No.

Site Name

000703

Keeragh Islands

000695

Ballyhack

000696

Ballyteige Burrow

000697

Bannow Bay

000698

Barrow River Estuary

000699

Boley Fen

000702

Leskinfere Church, Clough

000706

Mountgarrett Riverbank

000711

Tintern Abbey

000712

Wexford Slobs and Harbour

000741

Ballyconnigar Sandpits

000742

Ballyconnigar Upper

000744

Ballykelly Marsh

000745

Ballymoney Strand

000746

Ballynabarney Wood

000747

Ballyroe Fen and Lake

000750

Bunclody Slate Quarries

000754

Carrhill Wood

000755

Cone Fox Covert

000757

Courtown Dunes and Glen

000761

Forth Mountain

000765

Killoughrim Forest

000774

Oaklands Wood

000782

St. Helen’s Burrow

000812

Pollmounty River Valley

001733

Ardamine Woods

01736

Cahore Point North Sandhills

001737

Donaghmore Sandhills

001738

Duncannon Sandhills

01741

Kilmuckridge- Tinnabearna Sandhills

001834

Kilgorman River Marsh

001930

Ballyteige Marsh

County Geological Sites and Recommended Geological Natural Heritage Areas

County Wexford is perhaps more widely known than many counties for its geological heritage, and clearly many of the rich heritage and tourist sites have an underlying geological heritage that is the foundation for either cultural heritage interest or for the rich biodiversity of the county (See Map 2b).

The Geological Survey, of Ireland (GSI), with the support of Wexford County Council and the Heritage Council, carried out an audit of the County Geological Sites (CGS) in County Wexford, as part of the programme of work for the County Wexford Biodiversity Action Plan 2013 – 2018 and Wexford County Development Plan 2013-2019. With this audit complete Wexford County Council have been recognised by the GSI as being at the forefront of geological heritage in Ireland fully embracing geological heritage within its Development Plan processes.

Following the detailed audit, which included field and documentary research, the GSI have recommended that 42 sites were worthy to receive protection as CGS within the County Development Plan. These are all listed in Table 13.3 below.  They consider 16 of these sites to be of national importance as best representative examples of particular geological formations or features and should receive protection as Natural Heritage Areas (NHAs). They have been provisionally notified to the National Parks and  Wildlife Service (NPWS). A further 5 of these sites have also been identified that may be recommended for geological NHA status after further investigation. The detail provided in the audit will assist in the development management process, in raising awareness, education and as an addition to our natural heritage tourism product. 

The management requirements for geological sites differ to those protected for ecological measures. Geological features are typically quite robust and generally few restrictions are required in order to protect the scientific interest. In some cases the geological interest may even be served better by a development exposing more rock. The important thing is that people are aware of the sites and, more generally, that consultation takes place with GSI where development is proposed for a site. This affords the opportunity to learn more about our geology or area by recording and sampling of temporary exposures, and to influence the design so that access to exposures of rock can be maintained for the future. It will result in inappropriate development being prevented where it would irreversibly damage a feature of significant interest.

Many of the sites fall within existing pNHAs, SACs and SPAs where the ecological interest is actually founded upon the underlying geodiversity and their related controls and constraints must be acknowledged.

Table 13.3 Wexford County Geological Sites and recommended geological Natural Heritage Areas (NHAs)

Site Code5

Site Name

Designation

WX001

Baginbun Head

CGS

WX002

Ballymoney Strand

CGS, may be recommended for Geological  NHA

WX003

Ballyteige Bay

CGS

WX004

Bannow Bay

CGS, recommended for Geological NHA

WX005

Barrystown Mine

CGS

WX006

Blackstairs Mountain

CGS

WX007

Booley Bay

CGS, recommended for Geological NHA

WX008

Cahore Point

CGS, may be recommended for Geological  NHA

WX009

Cahore Polders and Dunes

CGS

WX010

Caim Mine

CGS

WX011

Camaross Pingos

CGS, recommended for Geological NHA 

WX012

Carnsore Point

CGS

WX013

Carrigadaggan

CGS, recommended for Geological NHA 

WX014

Coolishall Quarry

CGS

WX015

Cullenstown

CGS

WX016

Curracloe Beach and The Raven Point

CGS

WX017

Fethard

CGS, recommended for Geological NHA 

WX018

Forth Mountain

CGS

WX019

Graigue Great

CGS, may be recommended for Geological  NHA 

WX020

Greenore Point

CGS

WX021

Greenville Farmyard

CGS, recommended for Geological NHA 

WX022

Harrylock Bay

CGS, may be recommended for Geological  NHA

WX023

Hook Head

CGS, recommended for Geological NHA 

WX024

Kilmore Quay

CGS, recommended for Geological NHA 

WX025

Kilpatrick Sandhills

CGS

WX026

Kiltrea

CGS, recommended for Geological NHA 

WX027

Lady’s Island Lake

CGS, recommended for Geological NHA 

WX028

Loftusacre

CGS

WX029

Mulmontry Gorge

CGS

WX030

Oldtown to Harrylock Bay

CGS, recommended for Geological NHA 

WX031

Petit’s Bay

CGS

WX032

Pollshone Head – Roney Point

CGS, may be recommended for Geological  NHA

WX033

Saltee Islands

CGS, recommended for Geological NHA 

WX034

Sandeel Bay

CGS, recommended for Geological NHA 

WX035

Screen Hills

CGS, recommended for Geological NHA 

WX036

Shelmaliere Commons Quarry

CGS

WX037

St. Helen’s Glaciomarine Mud

CGS

WX038

St. Helen’s Harbour

CGS

WX039

St. Patrick’s Bridge

CGS, recommended for Geological NHA 

WX040

Tacumshin Lake

CGS

WX041

Tincone

CGS

WX042

Wexford Harbour

CGS, recommended for Geological NHA 

3.2.3 Ramsar Sites

Ramsar sites are designated for the conservation of wetlands, particularly those of importance to waterfowl. These sites were designated under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance on 15 March 1985. Three are located in County Wexford; The Raven, Bannow Bay and Wexford Wildfowl Reserve.

  • Ramsar Site no. 291: The Wexford Wildfowl Reserve. The site forms part of the world’s most important wintering sites for the vulnerable Greenland White fronted Goose.
  • Ramsar Site no. 840: Bannow Bay. The site supports an important range of wintering waterbird species.
  • Ramsar Site no. 333: The Raven. The site provides important roosting sites for passage terns and internationally important numbers of the globally vulnerable goose Greenland White-fronted Goose winter at the site.

13.2.4 Nature Reserves

A nature reserve is an area of importance to wildlife, which are protected under Ministerial Order. There are three nature reserves in the county; The Raven, Wexford Wildfowl Reserve and Ballyteige Burrow.

  • The flora of Ballyteige Burrow is especially rich in dune plants and those which prosper in coastal habitats.
  • The Raven is one of the best developed sand dune systems on the east coast. 
  • The Wexford Wildfowl Reserve forms a wintering ground of international importance for a number of migratory water fowl species.

13.2.5 Refuges for Fauna

The Minister may designate Refuges for wild birds or wild animals or flora (under the Wildlife Acts (1976-2012) and impose protective measures to conserve both the species and their habitats. One Refuge for Fauna is located in County Wexford: (Lady’s Island) Designation Order, 1988 – designated for Artic tern, common tern, roseate tern, sandwich tern and little tern.

13.2.6 Shellfish Area

The EU Shellfish Waters Directive (2006/113/EC) aims to protect and improve shellfish waters in order to support shellfish life and growth. It is designed to protect the aquatic habitat of bivalve and gastropod molluscs, which includes mussels, scallops, clams, oysters and cockles. The European Communities (Quality of Shellfish Waters) Regulations 2006 (as amended) (S.I No 268 of 2006) gives effect to the Directive in Ireland. 

The Directive requires Member States to designate waters that need protection in order to support shellfish life and growth, and then establish pollution reduction programmes for the designated waters. There are four designated waters relevant to Wexford: Bannow Bay, Wexford Harbour Outer, Wexford Harbour Inner and Waterford Harbour. Pollution reduction programmes are in operation for these areas. The identified pressures on these designated waters include urban wastewater systems, on-site wastewater treatment systems agriculture and port activities. 

Under Article 4 of the Quality of Shellfish Waters Regulations 2006 (as amended), the Council is required to ensure that the performance of its functions promotes compliance with the objectives of these pollution reduction programmes and with the objectives of the Shellfish Waters Directive. Such functions include waste water treatment, waste management, effluent discharge licences, planning and development and building control. 

13.2.7 Freshwater Pearl Mussel

The freshwater pearl mussel is protected under the Wildlife Acts (1976-2012) and the Habitats Directive. It is included on the red data list for Ireland as being critically endangered. It requires water to be of a high ecological status. All 27 designated populations in Ireland are demonstrating unfavourable conservation status as highlighted in The River Basin Management Plan for Ireland 2018-2021. They have been prioritised for action. The DCHG produced a national conservation strategy for the species in 2011, which prioritised implementation of measures at a catchment scale for 8 Freshwater Pearl Mussel populations that collectively make up 80% of the total national population.  Hydro morphological impacts, sedimentation and enrichment are the main pressures causing Freshwater Pearl Mussel populations to be in a conservation condition classified as unfavourable. 

The second cycle River Basin Management Plan for Ireland 2018-2021 includes objectives to improve water to a high ecological status for designated pearl mussel rivers. 

13.2.8 Ecological Stepping Stones, Networks and Wildlife Corridors

Areas of biodiversity value are not confined to designated sites and there is a need to protect such areas of conservation value, including their associated species, against the cumulative impact of development on the wide network of natural systems which make up the environment.

Wildlife corridors or ecological networks describe a network of core habitats linked by linear and continuous structures such as rivers, hedgerows or stepping stones such as ponds or small woods. These corridors provide a vital habitat for many species and also function as a corridor for animals, birds, bats, insects and other species to prevent extinction or demise due to habitat fragmentation. Such wildlife corridors are vital for access to species dispersal, food sources, nesting and breeding.

In accordance with Article 10 of the Habitats Directive and the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended) the Planning Authority is obliged to include objectives in its Development Plan for the management of features of the landscape, such as traditional field boundaries, important for the ecological coherence of the Natura 2000 network and essential for the migration, dispersal and genetic exchange of wild species.

Planning for Watercourses in the Urban Environment: Shannon Regional Fisheries Board (IFI) provides an excellent guide for the protection and enhancement of rivers in urban areas, which promotes planning requirements to be incorporated into development plans to ensure that developments do not degrade watercourses nor reduce their value for the public good. The riparian zone and green infrastructure in general is dealt with in more detail in Chapter 11 Landscape and Green Infrastructure. 

13.2.9 Invasive Species

Invasive non-native plant and animal species can represent a major threat to local biodiversity. They can negatively impact on native species, can transform habitats and threaten whole ecosystems causing serious problems to the environment and the economy. While the Council is committed to controlling invasive species, vigilance is required by all landowners as invasive species can spread quickly across boundaries. Preventative measures include ensuring that good site hygiene practices are employed for movement of materials into, out of and around the site and ensuring that imported soil is free of seeds and rhizomes of key invasive plant species.

Natural Heritage Objectives

It is the objective of the Council:

 

Objective NH01

To ensure the protection of all designated ecological sites (as detailed in Section 13.2.1 to 13.2.8) in relevant Local Area Plans with due consideration when assessing planning applications.

Objective NH02

To protect and enhance the rich qualities of our natural heritage in a manner that is appropriate to its significance.

Objective NH03

To promote biodiversity protection and habitat connectivity both within protected areas and in the landscape through promoting the integration of green infrastructure and ecosystem services, including landscape, heritage and biodiversity and management of invasive and alien species in the plan making and development management processes. 

Objective NH04

To protect the integrity of sites designated for their habitat and species importance and prohibit development which would damage or threaten the integrity of these sites. Such sites include Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and candidate SACs, Special Protection Areas (SPAs), Natural Heritage Areas(NHAs) and proposed NHAs, Nature Reserves, Refuges for Fauna and RAMSAR sites. To protect protected species wherever they occur6 .

Objective NH05

In assessing planning applications located in and/or in proximity to Natura 2000 sites, whether hydraulically linked or otherwise linked or dependent  (such as feeding, roosting or nesting  grounds) to a designated site, regard shall be had to the detailed conservation management plans and data reports prepared by NPWS, where available, to the identified features of interest of the site, the identified conservation objectives to ensure the maintenance or restoration of the features of interests to favourable conservation status, the NPWS Article 17 current conservation status reports, the underlying site specific conditions, and the known threats to achieving the conservation objectives of the site.

Objective NH06

To recognise the importance of recommended Geological Natural Heritage Areas, proposed Natural Heritage Areas and County Geological Sites and protect the character and integrity of these sites where appropriate. The Council will consult Geological Survey of Ireland where a development is proposed that may impact on geological sites.

Objective NH07

To have regard to the recommendations contained in The Geological Heritage of  County Wexford: An audit of County Geological Sites in County Wexford 2018, in the assessment of planning applications located within proposed Natural Heritage Areas and County Geological Sites..

Objective NH08

To ensure that any plan/project and any associated works, individually or in combination with other plans or projects, are subject to Screening for Appropriate Assessment to ensure there are no likely significant effects on any Natura 2000 site(s) and that the requirements of Article 6(3) and 6(4) of the EU Habitats Directive are fully satisfied.
Where a plan/project is likely to have a significant effect on a Natura 2000 site or there is uncertainty with regard to effects, it shall be subject to Appropriate Assessment. The plan/project will proceed only after it has been ascertained that it will not adversely affect the integrity of the site or where, in the absence of alternative solutions, the plan/project is deemed by the competent authority imperative for reasons of overriding public interest.

Objective NH09

To ensure the protection and conservation of areas, sites and species and ecological networks/corridors of local biodiversity value outside the designated sites throughout the county and to require an ecological assessment to accompany development proposals likely to impact on such areas or species.

Objective NH10

To ensure that traditional field boundaries, ponds or small woods which provide important ecological corridors, stepping stones or networks are protected. Where such features exist on land which is to be developed the applicant should demonstrate that the design of the development has resulted in the retention of these features insofar as is possible and that the existing biodiversity value of the site has been protected and enhanced.

Objective NH11

To protect trees or groups of trees and woodlands of particular amenity and nature conservation value and make tree preservation orders where appropriate.

Objective NH12

To protect individual trees, groups of trees, woodlands and hedgerows of amenity and biodiversity value, from damage and/or degradation and work to prevent the disruption of the connectivity of the woodlands and hedgerows of the county. Commercial forestry will generally be exempt, except at peripheries and/or where they have not been maintained for commercial purposes.

Objective NH13

To ensure applications for development include proposals for native planting and leave a suitable ecological buffer zone between the development works and any areas or features of ecological importance. To minimise the removal of hedgerow and natural boundaries, and where hedgerows are required to be removed the applicant/developer will be required to reinstate the hedgerows with a suitable replacement of native species.

Objective NH14

To work with local communities, groups, landowners, National Parks and Wildlife Service and other relevant parties to identify, protect, manage and, where appropriate, enhance and promote sites of local biodiversity value.

Objective NH15

To implement the actions identified in the County Wexford Biodiversity Action Plan 2013, or any subsequent plan, in partnership with all relevant parties and stakeholders.

Objective NH16

To ensure the protection of natural heritage is integral to the Council’s own developments, actions and methods of operation.

Objective NH17

To ensure that natural heritage and biodiversity consideration are integral to the preparation of Local Area Plans and to identify, protect and manage biodiversity through these Plans.

Objective NH18

To promote best practice in the control of invasive species and support measures for the prevention and/or eradication of invasive species as appropriate and as opportunities and resources allow.

Objective NH19

To undertake an audit of invasive species across the county and encourage greater awareness of potential threats caused by invasive species and how they can spread.

Objective NH20

To raise awareness in relation to invasive species, including making landowners and developers aware of best practice guidance in relation to the control of invasive species and leave them to adhere to same and, to ensure, in so far as possible, that proposals for development do not lead to the spread of invasive species. The Council will inform landowners of any invasive species found or reported on their property and request the landowners to take appropriate action in accordance with best practice guidance.

Objective NH21

To ensure that proposals for development do not lead to the spread or introduction of invasive species. If developments are proposed on sites where invasive species are or were previously present, the applicants will be required to submit a control and management program for the particular invasive species as part of the planning process.

Objective NH22

To require best practice and facilitate the development of appropriate facilities to minimise the spread of invasive species along blueways and greenways.

Objective NH23

To carefully consider and implement the management of invasive species where there is a corridor, such as hydrological connections to European Sites in order to prevent the spread of invasive species to sensitive sites.

Objective NH24

To incorporate the actions of the All Ireland Pollinator Plan 2015-2020 (and any subsequent Plan) when managing our parks, open spaces, roadside verges and all vegetation in a way that provides more opportunities for biodiversity while being cognisant of the threat of the spread of invasive species.

13.3 Archaeological Heritage

13.3.1 Archaeological Heritage

Archaeological heritage is a non-renewable resource which helps us to understand how cultures and past societies developed. It consists of material remains in the form of sites and monuments, as well as artefacts or moveable objects. ‘Monuments’ refer to manmade structures or natural features altered by man while ‘sites’ are normally situated below ground and may have no visible surface features at all. Archaeological sites and monuments vary greatly in date and form. Examples include earthworks, megalithic tombs, medieval buildings, urban archaeological deposits and underwater features such as wrecks. Sites and monuments which survive not only enrich our landscapes and townscapes but are essential to understanding our past.

Archaeological sites and monuments are protected under the National Monuments
Acts 1930-2004. At present, a site or monument is protected in one of four ways: –

  • It is recorded in the Record of Monuments and Places (RMP)
  • It is registered in the Register of Historic Monuments (RHM)
  • It is a national monument subject to a preservation order (or temporary preservation order)It is a national monument in the ownership or guardianship of the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht or a Local Authority

The Record of Monuments and Places, which was established under Section 12 of the National Monuments (Amendment) Act 1994, provides a statutory list of all known archaeological monuments and such places in Ireland. It includes a set of maps and a list of monuments and places for each County. These are known as Recorded Monuments. Zones of archaeological potential are also included. These are zones in historic towns, within which archaeological deposits and upstanding pre-1700 AD archaeological remains exist. There are more than 120,000 monuments on the Record of Monuments and Places in Ireland. Approximately 1,700 of these are located in County Wexford. The RMP is not an exhaustive list of all known archaeology in existence. Other sites are added on an on-going basis and may be listed on www.archaeology.ie.
The Register of Historic Monuments was established under Section 5 of the National Monuments (Amendment) Act 1987. The Register may include both historic monuments and archaeological areas. A ‘Historic Monument’ includes a prehistoric monument and any monument associated with the commercial, cultural, economic, industrial, military, religious or social history of the place where it is situated or of the country. It also includes all monuments in existence before 1700 AD or such later date as the Minister may appoint by regulations. There are 57 historic monuments registered for County Wexford. The majority of these are also included on the Record of Monuments and Places.

There are currently 17 monuments in Wexford listed in the ownership/guardianship of the Minister and there are 7 monuments/sites in Wexford listed on the Preservation Order list
Proposed work on these sites requires the prior written consent from the Minister before commencing that work.

Table no. 13.4 National Monuments which are the subject of Preservations Orders

PO No.

Monument

Townland

Effective Date of Order

SMR No.

7/1956

Rectilinear

Courtballyedmond

22/02/1956

WX016-022001-

3/1958

Barrow

Loftushall

15/10/1958

WX049-015---

1/1979

Ringfort

Muchrath

11/01/1979

WX048-019---

192

Baginbun Earthworks

Ramstown

18/07/1952

WX050-015001-

WX050-015002-

2/1974

Old Ross Motte

Springpark

11/10/1974

WX030-052001-

79/1939

Vinegar Hill

Templeshannon

17/01/1939

WX020-032---

3/1968

Fern’s Castle

Castleland

(Scarawalsh By.)

28/11/1968

WX0-003001-

Table 13.5 National Monuments in State Ownership or Guardianship

No.

Monument

Townland

Status

SMR No.

516

Ballyhack Castle

Ballyhack

Ownership

WX044-009001-

375

Motte

Ballymoty More

Ownership

WX020-041---

521

Ferns Castle

Castleland

Guardianship

WX015-003001-

665

Clone Church

Clone

Ownership

WX015-023001

644

Coolhull Castle

Coolhull

Ownership

WX046-028---

192

Dunbrody Abbey (Cist.)

Dunbrody

Guardianship

WX039-003001-

668

Duncannon Fort

Duncannon

Guardianship

WX044-015001-

457

Tacumshane Windmill

Fence

Guardianship

WX053-006---

133

Ferns Abbey

Ferns Demesne

Ownership

WX015-003004-WX015-003017-WX015-003018-WX015-003028-

133

Ferns (St. Peters Church)

Ferns Upper

Ownership

WX015-003005-

133

Ferns Cathedral & Crosses

Ferns Upper

Ownership

WX015-003002-

WX015-003003-

WX015-003009-

WX015-003010-

WX015-003011-

WX015-003012-

WX015-003013-

WX015-003014-

443

St. Mary’s Church

New Ross

Guardianship

WX029-013002-

434

Rathmackee Castle

Rathmackee Great

Guardianship

WX042-029001-

229

Rathumney Castle

Rathumney

Ownership

WX040-028001-

429

Slade Castle

Slade

Guardianship

WX054-008001-

392

Windmill on Vinegar Hill

Templeshannon

Guardianship

WX020-032---

506

Tintern Abbey (Cist. Abbey, Church & bridge)

Tintern

Ownership

WX045-027001-WX045-028002- 

WX045-029001-

445

St. Selsker’s Priory Church (Aug.)

Wexford Town

Guardianship

WX037-032009-

In accordance with the Planning and Development Regulations 2001 (as amended) notice of planning applications which may affect the archaeological heritage will be sent to the Minister. Any application for development which may affect a monument due to its location, size or nature should be accompanied by an archaeological assessment. The assessment must be carried out by a suitably qualified archaeologist and may include appropriate documentary research and archaeological excavation or examination of upstanding remains. In certain circumstances it may be considered appropriate to carry out archaeological monitoring. The cost of archaeological excavation and recording are part of the development costs and are borne by the developer. 

New development should be designed to avoid damage to the archaeological heritage where possible. If a proposed development cannot be re-located or re-designed to avoid removal of a site or monument (or part thereof), the approach to be followed must be preservation in-situ or preservation by record through archaeological excavation.

13.3.2 Maritime and Underwater Archaeology

Maritime archaeology explores the way that people lived and worked by the coast, how they made use of its maritime resources and how they used the sea as a means of travel and movement. Ireland’s maritime landscapes include ancient settlements along the coast and islands, piers, harbours, fish traps, middens on the intertidal zone and shipwrecks and submerged landscapes on the seabed. Threats to maritime archaeology include climate and sea-level changes, coastal erosion, fishing and shellfish farming, coastal and offshore development. Such activities can lead to the damage or destruction of underwater archaeological sites.

The Shipwreck Inventory of Ireland includes all known wrecks for the years up to and including 1945. All shipwrecks over one hundred years old and underwater archaeological objects are protected under the National Monuments Acts 1930-2004. 
An Underwater Heritage Order may be made by the Minister in respect of an area on, in or under the sea bed, or on land covered by water where there is thought to be a wreck or archaeological object and which, because of its historical, archaeological or artistic importance, ought to be protected.

13.3.3 Battlefields

The Council recognises the importance and value of the wider historic landscape and environment, including battlefields. The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht is currently undertaking an Irish Battlefields Project. The aim of the project is to assist in identifying the appropriate statutory protection that should be extended to battlefield sites. The Council will have regard to the Irish Battlefields Project as it becomes available .

Table 13.6 Battlefield Sites

Record No.

Townsland

ITM Co-ordinates

Class

Listed on RMP

WX005-021----

MOTABOWER
Park (Scarawalsh By.)

704250,663590

Battlefield

No

 

BALLYELLIS (Scarawalsh By.)

 

 

 

WX006-086----

BALLYGULLEN (Gorey By. Kilnahue ED)

710475,661575

Battlefield

No

WX009-017----

BALLYPRECAS

690980,656290

Battlefield

No

 

NEWTOWNBARRY

 

 

 

WX010-033----

CLONEE LOWER

701730,653370

Battlefield

No

 

CLONEE UPPER

 

 

 

 

KILTHOMAS

 

 

 

WX011-076----

CAIN

711980,654400

Battlefield

No

 

TOBERANIERIN LOWER

 

 

 

 

TOBERANIERAN UPPER

 

 

 

WX020-118----

TEMPLESHANNON

698360,640170

Battlefield

No

 

CLONHASTEN

 

 

 

 

DRUMGOLD

 

 

 

WX020-119----

ENNISCORTHY

0,0

Battlefield

No

WX020-120----

ENNISCORTHY

697155,639900

Battlefield

No

WX021-044----

MONAWILLING UPPER

 

Battlefield

No

 

OULART (Ballaghkeen By.)

 

 

 

 

KYLE (Ballaghkeen By.)

 

 

 

WX029-013077

MARSHMEADOWS

672210,627510

Battlefield

No

 

NEW ROSS

 

 

 

 

PONDFIELDS

 

 

 

 

SOUTHKNOCK

 

 

 

 

REDHOUSE

 

 

 

 

VEROSLAND

 

 

 

WX029-013077

CHAMBERSLAND

672210,627510

Battlefield

No

 

BISHOPSLAND

 

 

 

 

IRISHTOWN

 

 

 

WX030-103----

BALLYGALVERT

678800,620830

Battlefield

No

 

BALLINVEGGA

 

 

 

WX037-091

BALLINDINAS

698630,620830

Battlefield

No

 

COLESTOWN

 

 

 

 

COLLEGE

 

 

 

 

SHELMALIERE (Shelburne by.)

 

 

 

WX037-092----

TOWNPARKS (St Michael’s of Feagh by.)

0,0

Battlefield

No

 

TOWNPARKS (St Peter’s Parish) (Part of) WEXFORD

 

 

 

WX041-068----

HARESMEAD

68460,618520

Battlefield

No

 

HORETOWN SOUTH

 

 

 

WX050-015006

RAMSTOWN

679940,603230

Battlefield

No

Archaeological Heritage Objectives:

It is the objective of the Council to:

Objective AH01

To conserve and protect archaeological sites, monuments (including their settings), underwater archaeology and objects including those listed or scheduled for inclusion on the Record of Monuments and Places and/or the Register of Historic Monuments or newly discovered sub-surface archaeological remains7.

Objective AH02  

To recognise the importance of monuments and sites and protect the character and integrity of these monuments and sites where appropriate. The Council will consult the National Monuments Service where a development is proposed that may impact on an archaeological monument and/or site.

Objective AH03

To protect the heritage of groups of important national monuments, inclusive of their contextual setting and interpretation, in the operation of development management.

Objective AH04

To fully consider the protection of archaeological heritage when undertaking, approving or authorising development. In considering such protection the Council will have regard to the advice and recommendations of the National Monuments Service and the principles set out in Framework and Principles for the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage (Department of Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands, 1999).

Objective AH05

To require an archaeological assessment and/or investigation by qualified persons for development that may, due to its size, location or nature, have a significant effect upon archaeological heritage and to take appropriate measures to safeguard this archaeological heritage. In all such cases the Planning Authority shall consult with the National Monuments Service in the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

Objective AH06

To promote a presumption in favour of preservation in-situ of archaeological remains and settings when dealing with proposals for development that would impact upon archaeological sites and/or features. Where preservation in-situ is not possible the Council will consider preservation by record in appropriate circumstances.

Objective AH07

To protect historic and archaeological landscapes, including battlefields, and promote access to such sites provided that this does not threaten the feature.

Objective AH08

To include archaeological landscapes, battlefields and historic landscapes as part of the updated Landscape Character Assessment of the County to be prepared following the publication of a National Landscape Character Assessment.

Objective AH09

To protect historic urban defences (both upstanding and buried) and associated features and safeguard them from inappropriate development in accordance with
National Policy on Town Defences (Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government, 2008).

Objective AH10

To identify appropriate archaeological sites in the county to which public access could be provided, and work to secure public access where appropriate in consultation with the land owner and the National Monument Service, subject to normal planning and environmental criteria and the development management standards contained in Volume 2.

Objective AH11

To retain existing street layouts, historic building lines and traditional plot widths which derive from medieval or earlier origin.

Objective AH12

To protect historical burial grounds within County Wexford and encourage their maintenance in accordance with best practice conservation principles.

Objective AH13

To have regard to the Historic Battlefield sites as listed  in Table 13.6 (and those which are not listed thereon but that are, or become, known) and when assessing planning applications in the vicinity of a Historic Battlefield ensure there is no harm to the physical character or setting of these sites and where development is proposed within the identified battlefields, archaeological assessment and recording may be required.

13.4 Built Heritage

It is important to ensure that the architectural and historic character of the county and the quality of its landscape is conserved and protected. Our built heritage enriches our lives and provides a connection with, and a means of understanding our shared past.

There are two primary mechanisms to protect the county’s architectural heritage as set out in the Planning and Development Acts 2000 – 2010 (as amended) and comprising principally of the Record of Protected Structures and Architectural Conservation Areas:

  • If a structure is considered to be of significant importance, the Council may designate it as a protected structure. A protected structure is one that is considered to be of architectural, historical, archaeological, artistic, cultural, scientific, social or technical interest.
  • If a group of buildings is considered special and is of significant importance, the Council may designate it as an Architectural Conservation area.

13.4.1 Protected Structures

A Protected Structure is a structure that the Council considers to be of special interest from an architectural, historical, archaeological, artistic, cultural, scientific, social or technical point of view. 

In relation to a Protected Structure or a Proposed Protected Structure, the meaning of the term includes the structure, the interior of the structure, the land lying within the curtilage of the structure, any other structure lying within the curtilage and its interior, all fixtures, fittings and features which form part of the interior or exterior of the structures. 

A Record of Protected Structures (RPS) was prepared and is available in Volume 5 of the Plan.  The RPS presently comprises in excess of 1400 structures. In respect of the process of managing the RPS, during the period from 2013-2019, there were 81 structures added and 7 structures deleted on the basis of on-going survey and monitoring.

The curtilage of a Protected Structure is often an essential part of the structure’s special interest. In certain circumstances, the curtilage may comprise a clearly defined garden or grounds, which may have been laid out to complement the design or function. However, the curtilage of a structure can also be expansive and can be affected by development at some distance away but can also offer where appropriate development opportunity. 

13.4.2 Carrying out Maintenance and Repair Works

The aim of good conservation is that there should be minimal intervention into the historic fabric of a structure. Conservation works should do as much as necessary, yet as little as possible to the building to ensure its future. A philosophy of ‘minimal intervention maximum retention’ and ‘like for like’ repairs or ‘honest’ repairs where possible. Conjectural reconstruction of any part of the building should be avoided and only undertaken where there is good reason and the works can be based on reliable documentary or other evidence.

13.4.3 Requirement for Planning Permission for Changes to Protected Structure

The Planning and Development Act and associated regulations provide for certain categories of development to be exempt from the requirement to obtain planning permission. The carrying out of such or other works to a protected structure, or a proposed protected structure, shall be exempted development only if those works would not materially affect the character of

  1. The structure, or
  2. Any element of the structure which contributes to its special architectural, historical, archaeological, artistic, cultural, scientific, social or technical interest.

All other works will require planning permission.

13.4.4 Requirement for Supplementary Information

A Heritage Impact Assessment will be required in all cases where it is considered the proposed development entails extensive or complex works with a potential to have an impact on the architectural heritage which should include an appraisal of the wider context of the site or structure and the visual impact. The design, form, scale, height, proportions, siting and materials of new development should relate to and complement the special character of the protected structure. The traditional proportionate relationship in scale between buildings, returns, gardens and mews structures should be retained, the retention of landscaping and trees (in good condition) which contribute to the special interest of the structure shall also be required. 

13.4.5 Change of Use and Extension of Protected Structures

The historic use of the structure is part of its special interest and in general the best use for a building will be that for which it was built. However, on occasion the change of use will be the best way to secure the long-term conservation of a structure.

Sympathetic and suitable reuse and/or development of structures, including appropriately designed additions to Protected Structures, will be supported where they will ensure the long-term survival of the building. 

It is often necessary to permit new extensions to a Protected Structure so as to adapt it to modern living or to make it economically viable.

Proposals for new structures or extensions need careful consideration and the new development should seek to avoid adverse affects on the character of the structure.

A high quality sympathetic design approach will be promoted when larger scale extensions are proposed, or for new buildings in the curtilage of Protected Structures. Contemporary design approaches may include traditional, vernacular or modern styles.

Historic buildings in town centres present an opportunity to provide accommodation in upper floors, for instance above ground floor shops and offices. Mixed uses also provide variety and vibrancy to an area whilst preventing a building from falling into dereliction.
In finding the optimum viable use for protected structures, other land-use policies and site development standards may be relaxed to achieve long-term conservation. In some circumstances, short-term uses may provide a way to help keep a building weather-tight and in use pending long-term solutions.

13.4.6 Protection of Elements of Architectural Heritage Merit

Many non-structural features, such as historic gardens, stone walls, ditches and street furniture make a positive contribution to our built heritage. Non-structural features can make an important contribution to the character of an area and help to create a distinctive sense of place. Carelessness and a lack of awareness can result in the loss of these elements. Such elements should be maintained and retained when local improvement works are carried out.

13.4.7 Retrofitting Sustainability Measures

Owners of properties should consider how environmental performance can be improved in all works which involve change of use, conversion, extensions or other refurbishment, including works to heritage assets in an effort to combat the effects of climate change and contribute towards decarbonisation.

Improving environmental performance should include measures to reduce carbon emissions, improve resource use efficiency, minimise pollution and waste (to include rainwater management), improve digital connectivity and encourage micro energy generation where possible.

For historic structures, simple measures such as draught proofing, energy and water efficient appliances, roof insulation and repair and maintenance works can bring substantial improvements and have minimal other impacts, both visually and on historic fabric and traditional construction. Such minor interventions should be considered first as these are usually non-contentious, may not require planning permission and can provide significant benefits at low cost. Further recommendations and advice can be obtained from Energy Efficiency in Historic Buildings Guide from the Advice Series produced by DEHLG.

Built Heritage Objectives

It is the objective of the Council:

Objective BH01

To protect the architectural heritage of County Wexford and to include structures considered to be of special architectural, historical, archaeological, artistic, cultural, scientific, social or technical interest in the Record of Protected Structures.

Objective BH02

To support targeted investment in the built heritage of our region including the Built Heritage Investment Scheme and Historic Structures Fund to assist owners to maintain our built heritage assets. 

Objective BH03

To engage in and promote initiatives to revitalise the historic cores of our towns and villages together with local communities, heritage property owners and other stakeholders.

Objective BH04

To protect our Architectural Heritage in the form of RPS and identify important groups of buildings/localities suitable for designation as ACAs. Wexford County Council will also endeavour to undertake monitoring and review of the RPS and ACA’s  which may result in recommendations for adding or deletion and enlist measures to prevent dereliction and to support re-use of built heritage.

Objective BH05

To protect the curtilage of Protected Structures or proposed Protected Structures from any works which would cause loss of, or damage to, the special character of the structure and loss of or damage to, any structures of heritage value within the curtilage or attendant grounds of the structure.

Objective BH06

To ensure development within the curtilage of a Protected Structure is compatible with its character. This does not preclude putting forward innovative contemporary designs that respect the context of the Protected Structure.

Objective BH07

To promote the retention of any original or early building fabric including  for example timber sash windows, stonework, brickwork, joinery, ironmongery, traditional mortars, render and decorative or weather finishes and slate and vernacular architectural details (whether relating to a Protected Structure or not). Likewise, the Council will encourage the re-instatement of historically correct traditional features and retention of original ridge heights as appropriate.

Objective BH08

To ensure that applications in relation to Protected Structures include an Architectural Heritage Impact Assessment report where it is considered the proposed development entails extensive or complex works with a potential to have an impact on the architectural heritage. This report should assess the implications of the development on the character of the structure and the area in which it is located. This should be prepared by a suitably qualified person competent to make a qualitative assessment of the potential impact of works on the character and special interest of the protected structure and in accordance with the Architectural Heritage Protection- Guidelines for Planning Authorities (DAHG, 2011) and any subsequent drafts

Objective BH09

To ensure that all applications for Protected Structures are assessed by taking into consideration the advice contained in Architectural Heritage Protection Guidelines for Planning Authorities (DAHG, 2011) and any subsequent guidelines.

Objective BH10

To encourage the repair and retention of traditional timber, rendered and/or tiled shop fronts and pub fronts, including those which may not be Protected Structures. There will be a general presumption against the replacement of original shopfronts with emphasis on retention and reinstatement of traditional proportions and details.

Objective BH11

To facilitate the retention of older buildings, the Planning Authority will give consideration to the relaxation of car parking and other development management requirements in appropriate circumstances.

Objective BH12

To ensure that elements of the architectural heritage of the county, such as historic gardens, stone or brick walls, ditches and street furniture that make a positive contribution to the built heritage, are retained.

Objective BH13

To encourage improvements to energy efficiency in Traditional Buildings while maintaining the Architectural character and significance in line with DoAHG Heritage Protection Guidelines for Planning Authorities 2011 and DoEHLG Advice Series Guide on Energy Efficiency in Traditional Buildings and any future guidelines and advice. 

Objective BH14

To protect and manage trees in curtilage of Protected Structure or in close vicinity that contribute to special character and setting.

Objective BH15

To support economic development of large country houses in their role as tourist attractions and other commercial uses to ensure their continued survival.

Objective BH16

In the event of catastrophic accidental fire damage the rebuilding of a protected structure will not be required. Support and advice will be provided in assisting the repair of damaged protected structures to achieve a balance between new works and the remaining original features.

13.4.9 Architectural Conservation Areas 

Part IV of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended) requires that, where warranted, Development Plans include objectives to preserve the character of places, areas, groups of structures or urban areas that are of:

  1. Special architectural, historical, archaeological, artistic, cultural, social or technical interest or value
  2. Contribute to the appreciation of Protected Structures.

Section 81(1) of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, describes an Architectural Conservation Area (ACA) as “a place, area, group of structures or townscape...of special architectural, historical, archaeological, artistic, cultural, scientific, social or technical interest or value, or, contributes to the appreciation of protected structures”. 

ACA legislation may be used to protect the following:

  • Groups of structures of distinctiveness or visual richness or historical importance;
  • The setting and exterior appearance of structures that are of special interest, but the interiors of which do not merit protection;
  • The setting of a protected structure where this is more extensive than its curtilage;
  • Designed landscapes where these contain groups of structures as in, for example urban parks, the former demesnes of country houses and groupings of archaeological and industrial remains;

Groups of structures which form dispersed but unified entities but which are not within the attendant ground of a single dominant protected structure8

13.4.10 Requirement for Planning Permission in an ACA 

Once designated, protection is afforded to ACA’s by restricting development that can be undertaken without planning permission and through the planning application process. The protection afforded by the ACA designation includes the exterior of structures – elevations, roof slopes, chimneys and curtilage buildings. In line with the Architectural Heritage Protection Guidelines 2011, DAHG the carrying out of any works to the exterior of a structure will be exempted development only if the works would not materially affect the character of the area. This is in addition to the requirement under Section 4 (1) (h) of the Act that for works to be exempted, they must be consistent with the appearance of the structure itself and neighbouring structures. ACA designation does not give protection to the interior of a building. This protection includes the public domain and features therein.
In accordance with Section 82 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended), ‘The carrying out of works to the exterior of a structure located in an architectural conservation area shall be exempted development  only if those works would not materially affect the character of the area’. Thus some works which would be exempt in an ordinary structure may require planning permission when carried out to a building or site in an ACA. Works of repair carried out in accordance with the Guidelines for Planning Authorities and with the Advice Series of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht do not require planning permission; however to ensure compliance it is recommended to seek the opinion of the Planning Authority
Example of works that might alter the character of the ACA & require planning permission

  • Changing the roof profile
  • Re-roofing with any material other than a Welsh slate. 
  • Changing the finish of external walls
  • Removing or altering chimneys
  • Erecting an extension
  • Changing the boundary treatment
  • Erecting or altering shop-fronts and signage
  • Changing the design, materials and finish of windows, doors and cills
  • Adding satellites, antennae, roof lights or dormers.

This is not a complete list and is included for guidance purpose only. It is recommended that advice is sought in advance on whether or not planning permission is required.

13.4.11 Demolition in an ACA 

Where it is proposed to demolish a structure that contributes to the character of an ACA or to demolish behind a retained facade, the onus shall be on the applicant to make the case for demolition, whereby considerations of the effect both on the character of the area and on any adjoining protected structure. Where it is proposed to demolish a building in an ACA, the proposed replacement should not be of lesser quality or interest than the existing one and should not adversely affect the character of the area. In assessing applications for demolition within an ACA planning authority will have regard to the criteria section 3.10 of guidelines9.

13.4.12 List of Proposed and Adopted ACAs in County Wexford 

At present there are ACAs in Wexford, Enniscorthy, Gorey and New Ross. It is proposed to alter some of these ACAs in this plan and proposed to designate an ACA in Bunclody. These are identifies in Volume 6.  This section contains general objectives relating to all ACAs, further information and advice is contained in Volume 6.

Wexford Town

  • ACA1, No. 1-5
  • ACA2, No. 1-4
  • ACA3, Avenue de Flandres

Enniscorthy Town

  • ACA1 – Enniscorthy Town Historic Core
  • ACA2 – Templeshannon
  • ACA3 – Vinegar Hill and Surrounding Environs

New Ross Town

  • ACA1 – North Street/John Street
  • ACA2 – South Street
  • ACA3 –  Lower South Street
  • ACA4 – Quay Street/Mary Street

Gorey Town

  • Main Street

Proposed ACA:

  • The Mall, Bunclody

Architectural Conservation Area Objectives

It is the objective of the Council

Objective ACA01

To protect  and enhance the character of the designated Architectural Conservation Areas including views and prospects  in Wexford, Enniscorthy and New Ross and the proposed Architectural Conservation Areas in Gorey and Bunclody with coherence to all conservation designations and objectives.

Objective ACA02

To review current ACA’s during the preparation of subsequent LAPs, in conjunction with owners and occupiers and interest groups, with a view to preparing a Management Scheme and guidance on the treatment of structures and the public realm.

Objective ACA03

To ensure that all proposed developments are carried out to the highest architectural and urban design standards within the Architectural Conservation Areas.

Objective ACA04

To protect existing buildings, structures, groups of structures, burial grounds, sites, landscapes and features such as trees, street furniture and paving, (including sub-surface areas) which are considered to be intrinsic elements of the special character of the ACA, from demolition or removal and non-sympathetic alterations.

Objective ACA05

To ensure that all new advertising hoardings, signage, awnings, canopies, flagpoles, banners, satellite dishes, masts, pylons, lighting, cctv cameras and car parking provision  within an ACA are designed, constructed and located in a manner that is complementary to the character of the ACA.

Objective ACA06

To preserve historic street patterns and encourage pedestrianisation on key streets.

Objective ACA07

To promote public awareness of the character and special interest of the Architectural Conservation Areas and to provide assistance and guidance in preserving these.

Objective ACA08

To ensure that applications in relation to a proposed development within an ACA that entail extensive or complex works with a potential to have an impact on the character of the architectural heritage and/or Landscape include a Character and Landscape Impact Assessment report and/or Heritage Impact Assessment. This report should assess the implications of the development on the character of the special area in which it is located. This should be prepared by a suitably qualified person competent to make a qualitative assessment of the potential impact of works on the character and special interest of the protected structure and in accordance with the Architectural Heritage Protection- Guidelines for Planning Authorities (DAHG, 2011) and any subsequent drafts.

13.4.13 Graveyards

The importance of historic burial grounds and graveyards as a primary physical source for the history of the county is significant. They could, through careful management, provide additional passive amenity spaces as well as contributing to the heritage tourism potential of County Wexford. All graveyards and burial grounds dating from pre-1700 A.D. are given statutory protection under the National Monuments Act 1930-2004. A full list of archaeological sites and monuments including graveyards recorded by the Archaeological Survey of Ireland can be downloaded from the National Monuments Service website at www.archaeology.ie

There is a requirement under the National Monuments Act, that notification be submitted to the National Monuments Service two months prior to commencement of any works on a graveyard listed on the Record of Monuments & Places.  

Wexford County Council recognises the importance of graveyards to local communities and the significant role played by communities in maintaining burial grounds. The Council will continue to work in partnership with communities in providing training and funding and in seeking additional funding opportunities to safeguard the county’s burial grounds.
Further Guidance & Information in relation to maintenance is included in the booklet Guidance for the Care, Conservation & Recording of Historic Graveyards prepared by The Heritage Council (2011)

Graveyard Objectives

It is the objective of the Council

Objective G01

To preserve and enhance the county’s graveyards through improved management and access and community stewardship, and to promote the unique character of each of the burial grounds.

Objective G02

To provide education and training on the appropriate care and maintenance of our graveyards and burial grounds (including legislative procedures involved).

Objective G03

To promote the use of Graveyards Plans as a means of identifying the significance of each graveyard and of co-ordinating maintenance and conservation works and the required permissions, as well as any promotional activities desired. 

Proposed Objective G04

To protect the burial grounds identified in the Record of Monuments and Places (see Map X), in co-operation with the National Monuments Service of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. 

13.4.14 Cultural Heritage

Wexford has a rich, diverse and distinctive cultural identity with a strong and internationally acclaimed creative and artistic base. The arts and culture of Wexford are a proud expression of our identity and play an important role in our social and economic well-being. Many people visit the county’s towns, monuments, festivals and historical sites each year to enjoy cultural experiences. Wexford’s long running internationally acclaimed Opera Festival has added not only to Wexford’s reputation but Ireland’s reputation for culture and creativity.

The county also contains many important historic landscapes and places such as Vinegar Hill, Carrigbyrne and Coolgreany, which together with prehistoric monuments, are important in defining our cultural identity.

There has been significant investment in our cultural heritage in recent years with substantial investment in libraries, museums and theatre and centres for the arts. The Council has played an important role in providing and facilitating this development and in supporting the arts community.

The Plan supports the sustainable development of our cultural heritage and will encourage the development of cultural land uses and activities in order to support the arts and increase local awareness of our cultural heritage and identity. Further information on cultural heritage is included in Chapter 15.

Cultural Heritage Objectives

It is the objective of the Council:

Objective CH01

To support the sustainable development and promotion of our cultural heritage and the associated infrastructure subject to normal planning and environmental criteria and the development management standards contained in Volume 2.

Objective CH02

To safeguard the cultural heritage of the county and facilitate the expansion and development of appropriate facilities suitably located adjacent to points of interest subject to compliance with normal planning and environmental criteria and the development management standards contained in Volume 2.

Objective CH03

To help to ensure that our cultural heritage and associated facilities are accessible and inclusive subject to compliance with normal planning and environmental criteria and the development management standards contained in Volume 2.

Objective CH04

To co-operate with the Heritage Council, Arts Council, Fáilte Ireland and other relevant bodies such as the National Parks and Wildlife Service to promote and develop the arts, cultural and heritage attractions throughout the County.

Objective CH05  

To support the delivery of the Creative Ireland programme that will encourage cultural activity and celebration of our heritage as important factors in the wellbeing of the County’s communities and core to the practice of place-making.
  • 1-  Energy Efficiency in Historic Houses(Proceedings produced from ten regional seminars held during  2009 & 2010, in partnership with Irish local authorities’  Architectural Conservation Officers & Heritage Officers, and with the support of ESB, SEAI & Department of Arts,  Heritage and the Gaeltacht.);  and The Advice Series on Energy Efficiency in Traditional Buildings produced by the Department of Environment Heritage and Local Government, 2010
  • 2-  Protected species including: Annex IV (Habitats Directive) species of flora and fauna, and their key habitats (i.e. breeding sites and resting places), which are strictly protected wherever they occur, whether inside or outside  the above sites, e.g. Otter and bats; Other species of flora and fauna and their key habitats which are protected under the Wildlife Acts, 1976-2000, wherever they occur; ‘Protected species and natural habitats’ as defined in the European Liability Directive (2004/35/EC) and European Communities; (Environmental Liability) Regulations, 2008, including Birds Directive – Annex I species and other regularly occurring migratory species, and their habitats (wherever they occur)  and Habitats Directive – Annex I habitats, Annex II species and their habitats, and Annex IV species and their breeding sites and resting places (wherever they occur).
  • 3-  Members states shall endeavour to encourage the management of features of the landscape which are of major importance for wild fauna and flora with a view to improving the ecological coherence of the Natura 2000 network under Article 10 of the EU Habitats Directive in1992 (92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992).
  • 4-  Salmonid waters are designated and protected as under the European Communities (Quality of Salmonid Waters) Regulations 1988 (SI No. 293 of 1988.
  • 5-  Site Code numbering system has been allocated by Wexford County Council
  • 6-  Protected species including: Annex IV (Habitats Directive) species of flora and fauna, and their key habitats (i.e. breeding sites and resting places), which are strictly protected wherever they occur, whether inside or outside the above sites, e.g. Otter and bats; Other species of flora and fauna and their key habitats which are protected under the Wildlife Acts, 1976-2000, wherever they occur; ‘Protected species and natural habitats’ as defined in the European Liability Directive (2004/35/EC) and European Communities; (Environmental Liability) Regulations, 2008, including: Birds Directive – Annex I species and other regularly occurring migratory species, and their habitats (wherever they occur) and Habitats Directive – Annex I habitats, Annex II species and their habitats, and Annex IV species and their breeding sites and resting places (wherever they occur).
  • 7- A complete list of Recorded Monuments and newly discovered subsurface remains is available to inspect in the Planning Department.
  • 8-  Architectural Heritage Protection Guidelines for Planning Authorities (DAHG 2011.
  • 9-  Architectural Heritage Protection Guidelines for Planning Authorities (DAHG 2011.

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CHERISH project
In Chapter 13 ‘Heritage and Conservation’ the ongoing work of the Discovery Programme in collaboration with the Geological survey of Ireland through the CHERISH project is producing measured datasets...