Section 4: Rosslare Strand Specific Objectives
4.1 Historical Development
Rosslare Strand, or simply Rosslare (Irish: Ros Láir, meaning "the middle peninsula"), is a village and seaside resort in County Wexford, Ireland. The name Rosslare Strand is used to distinguish it from the nearby community of Rosslare Harbour, site of the Rosslare Europort.
Little is documented for the main built up area of the settlement that exists today until early modern history and its development and popularity as a holiday resort was likely influenced by the introduction of the railway line on 24 June 1882 before which its primary functions were associated with the fort and fishing. In 2010 the Waterford line ceased completely and only the Dublin- Rosslare Europort line remains open.
A long sandspit stretching north from Rosslare separates Wexford Harbour from the Irish Sea. Until the early 1920s, this spit stretched for many miles north, almost touching the Raven Point and giving a very narrow mouth to Wexford Harbour. At the end of the spit was a small fort called Rosslare Fort. Once Rosslare Fort stood as a sentinel, its guns defending the narrow approaches to Wexford Harbour. In the winter of 1924-25 a storm breached the spit and it was gradually washed away. The fort was abandoned and now all that is left is an island at low tide. Most maps of Ireland, however, still show the long spit of sand.
4.2 Existing Urban Structure and Character
Rosslare Strand has developed in an organic dispersed pattern predominantly in a linear form along the coast line spreading out around the core of the village centre (primary hub). Two separate hubs with different functions/service provisions have developed in the settlement. One at the bottom of main approach road/route R740 into the core of settlement which could be considered primary hub (village centre).
A secondary hub serving community related functions in the northern section of the settlement.
Buildings in the primary hub provide some street continuity with stronger street frontages. Away from this area buildings largely sit on independent plots set back from the road giving a weak sense of enclosure and weak urban form. Some infill sites in more recent years have added building lines to the village and a more coherent and compact urban form. On the periphery of the villages there are a number of housing estates built in the last 20-30 years which are predominantly detached and semi-detached single and two storey buildings. Some of these estates are at a distance from the main hubs of the village and there are opportunities to infill to create a stronger urban structure and tighter grain in the village.
4.3.1 Settlement Hierarchy
Rosslare Strand is designated as a Level 3 Service Settlement in the Core Strategy Settlement Hierarchy. Levels 3 settlements are important service settlements for their local communities and their wider rural hinterlands. Some of these settlements are important contributors to economic activity in the county including Rosslare Strand which is a prominent and highly accessible tourist resort and a strong local settlement.
The settlement performs important functions including retail, leisure, hospitality, education, residential, service and amenity functions. The Development Approach for these settlements is set out in the Core Strategy, and is summarised here in Section 4.4.2.
The RSES highlights the importance of innovation and the development of networks between towns and villages to complement their more traditional roles. The RSES also supports the Department of Rural and Community Development’s Action Plan for Rural Development (APRD) which seeks to increase tourist numbers to rural Ireland, support sustainable jobs through targeted rural tourism initiatives, develop activity tourism and leverage natural and built heritage assets.
The total population recorded in Census 2016 for this settlement was 1,620. The total housing stock was 1,599, of which vacant households (excluding 949 holiday homes) numbered 54. In 2016, 21.5% of the population were aged 65 and over. This is significantly higher than the county average of 14.7%. It can be attributed to the popularity of the area as a retirement location. The population of the remaining age cohorts are below the county’s averages. In the summer months the population rises substantially.
Employment in Rosslare Strand is dominated by tourism related businesses. Many of these businesses however do not stay open year round and there has been frequent turnaround due to seasonality of the resort not only affecting year round amenities but also year round access to employment and services for local residents. Census 2016 records that there is a significantly lower rate of the resident population working in Manufacturing and Construction sectors than in the County, an average rate in Commerce and Trade and above average in Public Administration. The settlement is above the County average in terms of representation of Managers, Directors and Senior Officials and Professional Occupations.
Local shops and services form an important part of the economic, social and community wellbeing of the area and reduce the need to travel to Rosslare Harbour or Wexford for day-to-day shopping needs. According to Census 2016 42% of the working population of Rosslare Strand Settlement work in or within 15 minutes of their homes.
4.3.4 Existing Land Uses
There is a variety of land uses in the area and very good infrastructure of social and community facilities serving the village and its hinterland characterised by retail, hospitality (hotels, restaurants, public house, and cafes), leisure, community, residential and education as follows:
Primary School, Church, Public Houses Restaurants, Cafes and Takeaways Hotels (Kelly’s Resort Hotel & Spa and Coast Hotel), Caravan/Mobile Home Parks Doctor surgery, Community/Sports Centre/Playgound complex (with tennis courts, pitches, running track, bowls green, crazy golf, community garden), Crèche & Montessori School, Cois Barry/Mara Community Centre, Golf Club (with 18 hole, 12 hole, driving range and clubhouse), Pharmacy, Beauty Salon, Hairdressers, Convenience Shops and Post Office.
The local primary school is located at the northern hub adjacent to the community centre, crèche, playground and sport amenity centre. It had an enrolment of 204 pupils for the 2019/2020 school year. The school has been extended in recent years and has sufficient lands available to facilitate future extensions, if required. It grew by one third since 2011.
There is no post primary school in the settlement and the Department of Education and Skills have not identified a need for one. Post primary education for local students is provided for in Wexford Town (c. 13km) or Bridgetown (c. 15km)
There is public waste water treatment plant serving Rosslare Strand. It has a capacity of 8,500 P.E and as of April 2020 and there is some available headroom which affords modest scope to develop the settlement. However the current capacity of the system varies significantly due to the seasonal nature of the occupation of the village meaning that there are some limitations to the available capacity.
The area is also served by public water from the Fardystown Regional Water Scheme, and as of April 2020 it too has capacity to accommodate new development.
4.3.7 Vacancy and Under-Utilised land
There are a number of vacant and/or under-utilised/opportunity sites within the settlement area. There are a number of sites in need of regeneration in the settlement including:
- A site with derelict chalets on Station Road.
- A site with derelict chalets beside Garda Station at south end of Strand Road.
- Car park sites either side of entrance into Cedar Court opposite Coast Hotel.
- The Iona site and abandoned house adjacent.
All other sites are either vacant greenfield sites or used for agricultural purposes.
There are currently 4 no. vacant retail units;
- Former Sur La Mer Chipper
- Former Bookmakers Office
- Former Art Gallery
- Former Café
4.3.8 Built and Natural Heritage
There are only 3 structures listed on Record of Protected Structures in the settlement of Rosslare Strand as follow:
- WCC1317 St Bridgid’s Convent
- WCC1372 Rosslare Cottage
- WCC1373 Train Station Building
Features recorded on Archaeological Survey of Ireland:
- Rosslare Fort (WATO) WX01838
- Martello Tower(MATO) WX01837
- STSF WX01835
- Noan WX01844
- St Breagh’s Church (no remains) WCC02219
- Holy well WX02220
- Noan WX02222
- Site of Windmill WX04238
- Wexford Harbour Geological Site (WX042)
- Wexford Harbour and Slobs SPA (004076) & NHA (000712)
- Slaney River Valley SAC (000781)
4.3.9 Flood Risk
The SFRA identified that flood risk is present along the western fringe of the village, predominantly linked to a tidal influence. Existing development is at risk in the northwest corner of the settlement. Rosslare will be sensitive to increase in sea level, particularly along the western boundary. Any new development should follow the guidance provided in Section 4.4 to 4.11 of the SFRA. In general the sequential approach should be followed and Flood Zone A/B should be avoided for any highly or less vulnerable development.All future planning applications will be screened for flood risk, and may require the submission of an appropriately detailed site-specific flood risk assessment.
Figure RS-1 Flood Risk in Rosslare Strand
Source: Volume 11 Strategic Flood Risk Assessment
4.4 Development Strategy
4.4.1 Strategic Aim
The Council’s aim is to focus on Rosslare as a prime, quality tourist destination with a vibrant year round population and economy. The interdependence between the village and the area’s natural environment, particularly the beach, will be promoted and maximised.
4.4.2 Core Strategy Development Approach
As outlined in Section 4.3.1.Rosslare Strand is designated as a Level 3 Settlement in the Core Strategy. The development approach for these settlements, which is set out in the Core Strategy, is summarised here:
- Focus on moderate population growth.
- Apply the sequential approach to the development of land, requiring residential development to take place within the existing footprint of the settlements. The leap frogging of infill/brownfield lands to undeveloped or greenfield lands will not be considered.
- Promote economic and enterprise development appropriate in scale to the settlements.
- Focus on the regeneration and renewal of these settlements.
- Ensure that new development contributes to the creation of attractive, liveable, well-designed, high quality settlements and the local communities enjoy a high quality of life and well-being.
- Support community organisations who are working to develop community facilities and promote and facilitate initiatives in the public realm.
- Protect and enhance amenities, heritage, green infrastructure and biodiversity in these settlements.
Additional Strategic Objectives specific to Rosslare Strand include:
- To ensure flood risk is effectively managed and that development is avoided on lands identified at risk of flooding.
- To avoid contributing to coastal erosion and support appropriate mitigation measures.
- To protect and enhance coastal habitats and species within and adjacent to the settlement.
- To recognise that while the beach and natural environment are and will remain the principal tourism resources, there is a need to extend the range of facilities, both indoor and outdoor and to tackle the problem of seasonality.
- To developing a comprehensive tourism package through partnership with the various agencies and the local community including the development of sustainable projects in the area. As part of this package and in order to upgrade the quality of the tourism product, further provision of traditional facilities and accommodation such caravan/mobile home parks will be discouraged.
Having regard to the important role as a centre for tourism, leisure, hospitality and local service provision it has been allocated 30% population growth for the period 2016-2040.
4.4.3 Settlement Structure and Development
The plan aims to develop a strong and coherent settlement structure. This will be implemented by developing a Place concept, Route concept and Landscape concept which builds on the existing places, routes and landscape structure.
18.104.22.168 Place Concept
Rosslare has developed in a linear form extending inland from the coast line following the main routes with a number of distinct ‘places’ in the combined settlement as follow:
At bottom of main approach road/route R740 into the core of the settlement which could be considered the primary hub (village centre) which includes:
- Main public car park with public toilets and beach access;
- Convenience Shop and Post Office, Pharmacy, Restaurants, Cafes, Takeaway, Public House and Hairdressers;
And in the northern section of the settlement where community related amenities are clustered which includes:
- RC Church, School, Crèche, Playground, Community and Sport Centre, Doctors Surgery and Golf Club further north.
The proposals for Place Concept are:
- To consolidate the primary hub/village centre as the focus for retail and services development.
- To improve the ‘place’ quality of the village centre and the main route through the settlement along R740 and both north (L-3049) and south (L-7101) along Strand Road. The quality of architecture in these locations will be required to be high to create a sense of arrival to this unique tourist destination.
- To work with the local community to deliver improvements to the public realm in the settlement as resources allow.
- To ensure that development along the coastline provides a positive and strong aspect when viewed from the sea. Development should not back onto any coastal paths or open spaces.
- To improve the legibility and strength of the edges in the main spaces of the settlement and to create a sense of enclosure in accordance with the urban design strategy below and chapter 5 Towns and Villages.
22.214.171.124 Route Concept
The existing Route Structure is made up of the following:
- The spine of the route structure is R740 which forms the main access/entry into the settlement from N25.
- Local roads and streets-serve the rest of settlement;
- The L-3049 (Strand Road) runs from the corner of R740 (Station Road north all the way to the tip of the burrow.
- L-7101 runs from the corner of R740 (Station Road) south towards Mauritiustown all the way up to T junction to R736 Ballybro Road.
- L-7100 (Grange Road) runs from L-3049 at junction north junction with Coast Hotel back up to meet R740.
For the most part the route structure and permeability of the settlement works well in central areas but the outskirts are less permeable reducing opportunities to make trips by sustainable modes. There are a lack of footpaths at key locations through the area, most notably in large sections along the L7100 (Grange Road) and the L-7101 and in particular at the bridge on the L-7101 and the bridge on the R740.
The proposals for Route concept are to:
- Ensure that the routes are designed in accordance with their designated status of Arterial, Link and Local as per Section 5.9 of Chapter 5 Towns and Villages and Section 6 of the Development Management Manual).
- There are no Arterial routes in Rosslare Strand.
- Link routes are roads which link to the Arterial roads and with places usually outside the settlement , the R740 and R736 which both link to the N25 are Link routes
- Local routes are the routes which provide access within communities and to link Arterial and Link routes. These are roads and streets, and can serve individual developments, lanes and alleys. The local roads (L-3049, L-7101 and L-7100) and all other streets and lanes in Rosslare Strand are Local Routes.
- As well as detailed road design and movement function, the type of route will inform the design, building line/frontage, building type, building height, density and landscape treatment(see DM Manual). However, having regard to the prevailing heights in the villages the buildings heights shown on the route types will likely have to be moderated.
- Ensure that development along the route reflects the ‘movement’ function of the route and the ‘place’ function of the various ‘places’ it passes through.
- Make retrospective links within the community in consultation with the residents of the settlement.
- Ensure that access is provided to back lands and that no development will prevent an opportunity to make a required link.
126.96.36.199 Landscape Concept
Existing Landscape Structure
The Regional Road (R740) provides the main access and approach to the settlement and runs through the central spine of the area to the coast and main beach access with public car park and adjoining open green space. The coast/beaches and adjoining coastal habitats run along the whole length of the settlement. The beach also forms an important element in the landscape structure of the village being an amenity for active and passive recreation and an important area for biodiversity.
There are slobs and wetlands at one end and agricultural hinterland on the other two sides. Other spaces in the villages are made up of public spaces on the beaches and along L-3049 (Strand Road), open spaces in residential areas and agricultural lands in between.
A small ‘access for all’ garden is also located in the northern part of the settlement together with the Community and Sports Centre. The award winning local tidy town’s community have made ample opportunity throughout the settlement to avail of any spaces to enhance the planting, biodiversity and appearance of the settlement.
An 18-hole golf club with clubhouse and a driving range and smaller 12 hole course are located in the northern part of the settlement and are another significant element in the landscape.
The landscape concept for the village is largely based on adding to the significant work of the residents and business owners to date.
The proposals for the Landscape concept are:
- To support the community in the implementation of public realm improvements with the aim of achieving a consistent treatment for landscaping and, in particular, street trees in the settlements to add to coherence.
- Link the various elements that comprise the existing landscape structure, the parks, beach and trail to allow for the dispersal of species and improve visual amenity. This will be achieved either through the provisions of planting or by requiring green linkages throughout new development to link to other greens spaces and corridors in the village.
4.4.4 Access for All and Age Friendly
As discussed in Section 4.3.2, 21.5% of the settlement’s population was over 65 years old in Census 2016. This is attributed to the attractiveness of the area as a place to retire to. The future planning of the settlement needs to carefully consider this and the needs of all users, including older people. The Planning Authority will assist developers and local community groups to ensure that this is achieved.
Access for All and Age Friendly Objective
It is the objective of the Council to:
4.4.5 Urban Design and Public Realm
As discussed in Chapter 5 Towns and Villages, good urban design is a key component of compact growth and place making, ensuring that places are attractive to live, work and visit. In accordance with the Strategy outlined in Section 5.5 of Chapter 5 Towns and Villages, key place making objectives for Rosslare Strand are to:
- Provide for quality in the design of buildings and places (Quality).
- Ensure that future urban development has a coherent urban structure, is permeable and places people at the heart of the design of streets and public realm (Connected).
- Ensure that future development is compact and rejuvenated (Compact).
- Ensure that development is vibrant, inclusive, resilient and adaptable.
4.4.6 Compact Growth
NSO 01 to deliver compact growth will be achieved by prioritising the village centre and main built up area of the settlement of Rosslare Strand for future growth. This will focus on developing key infill, brownfield sites, under-utilised and vacant sites closest to the village centre first, moving sequentially out from there to remainder of the existing built-up footprint. This will ensure these sites are reused in the interests of sustainable development and that these sites or premises do not cause dis-amenity to their neighbours or the settlement.
The Planning Authority will also encourage the repurposing and reuse of existing vacant properties in the village centre for appropriate uses to contribute to regeneration and increasing the vibrancy of the plan area.
Density and building heights are two key components of compact growth. The Urban Development and Building Heights Guidelines outline that prevailing building heights have a critical role to play in addressing the delivery of more compact growth in our urban areas. The prevailing building height in the settlement plan area is two-storey with some three-storeys in the village centre. The two hotels have three storey sections also.
Buildings taller than the prevailing heights will be required to have a high quality design treatment and comply with the objectives of Chapter 5 Towns and Villages, Volume 2 Development Management Manual and the Urban Development and Building Heights - Guidelines for Planning Authorities for Planning Authorities (Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government.
The Planning Authority will encourage the repurposing and reuse of existing vacant and under-utilised properties in the village centre for appropriate uses to contribute to regeneration and increasing the vibrancy of the plan area.
Compact Growth Objectives
It is the objective of the Council to:
4.4.7 Retail and Commercial Services
The area is well served by a range of retail and commercial services which includes several convenience shops, post office, hairdressers, cafés, public houses, restaurants and hotels.
Retail and Commercial Objectives
It is objective of the Council:
As set out in the Core Strategy, an additional population of 223 is allocated to Rosslare Strand between 2016 and 2027. This equates to 148 additional households. It is intended to deliver all of these new dwelling units on lands in a sequential manner within the built-up footprint of the settlement plan area as per Section 1.4.6, achieving more than 30% envisaged by NPO 3c in the NPF.
It is the objective of the Council to:
4.4.9 Transport and Movement
Traffic volume through the village centre and the absence of sufficient car parking spaces is an issue for pedestrians in summer months and during school holidays in Rosslare. The volume of traffic during peak periods results in illegal parking and cars can be observed parked on double yellow lines, on footpaths and in entrance ways. Car parking facilities are not only used by staff, tourist and local residents but also by recreational users visiting beach and wider settlement. Commercial traffic unloading in the village centre can also present an issue.
The absence of footpaths on one or both sides of the road is notable on some of the main walking routes within the settlement. (See Map 5). There are no footpaths on either side of the road over the bridges on Station Road and Mauritiustown Road or from the turn off to Burrow Park on Strand Road all the way out to end of the Peninsula.
A one way traffic management plan (for southern section of Strand Road and Station Road) may be the solution with formalised parking on one side of the road with arrangements for cyclists and pedestrians.
A new 57.5km Greenway route has also been proposed centered around the out-of-service Rosslare Strand to Waterford rail corridor. In the village of Rosslare Strand up to where the route reaches the railway corridor, two options are being considered:
- Option 1: This involves a shared road: Cyclists and vehicular traffic would share the carriageway. There would be no significant change to vehicular traffic circulation.
- Option 2: This involves a one way circulation system on Station Road, Coast Road and Mauritiustown Road, which would facilitate the introduction of high quality facilities for pedestrians and cyclists.
Transport and Movement Objectives
It is the objective of the Council:
- The feasibility of a local traffic management system with measures to prioritise pedestrian, cyclist and public transport movements throughout the settlement and to facilitate the complementary use of private car.
- Options to increase provision of fully accessible pedestrian footpaths and, in particular, arrangements for pedestrians crossing the bridges on Station Road and Mauritiustown Road.
- The feasibility of providing additional car parking facilities at appropriate locations to facilitate the greenway and tourism development generally and an unloading bay in village centre.
- The introduction of formalised cycle paths and walking routes.
4.4.10 Economic Development
Economic activity in the plan area is heavily focused on tourism, and it is considered that the greatest potential for economic and employment growth in the plan area lies in the further development of the local tourism product.
Tourism plays a significant role in attracting visitors including day trippers and holiday makers predominantly from the domestic market but also international due to proximity to Europort. This in turn helps with businesses in the area as well as the county and country as a whole. There are many opportunities available to further maximise the tourism potential of both the plan area and the surrounding area and this is discussed in further detail in Chapter 7 Tourism.
However there are possible other future economic development opportunities in the plan area and whilst demand has not been strong for employment sites in Rosslare Strand in the past, however developments of this nature will be considered on appropriate sites in the village centre. This will be based around the following goals:
- To encourage tourism-related development at appropriate locations in the plan area.
- To ensure that new or expanded tourism developments respect the natural and built environment so that they do not damage the feature that has attracted the visitor to the area in the first instance.
- To facilitate developments that may add to the tourism product, extend the tourist season and/or increase accessibility to attractions and facilities such as the development of the coastal path subject to compliance with normal planning and environmental criteria and compliance with EU Directives.
- To target the development of activity-based tourism and encourage strong year round occupancy of the resort.
- To encourage and facilitate appropriate employment opportunities in the settlement area to allow the area to be more self-sufficient in terms of employment and to provide the opportunity for people to work locally rather than commute outside the area for work.
- To encourage more employment in the village centre so as to provide additional footfall and potential spend for local businesses and to support the development of new businesses, thereby increasing the vibrancy and vitality of the area year round.
A range of tourist accommodation is necessary to attract visitors to the plan area including hotels, guesthouses, B&Bs, caravan and mobile homes, holidays homes, hostels and camping. Chapter 7 Tourism Development contains extensive policies on tourism development including tourist accommodation.
Touring Caravan Sites
There are no designated touring caravan sites in the plan area. Any demand for such uses shall be facilitated within the established caravan and mobile home parks and/or at another suitable location within the village subject to normal proper planning and environmental criteria including the protection of residential amenity.
In the past the plan area has experienced significant pressure for holiday home developments. Based on the level of holiday home development that has occurred and the limitation in available WWTP capacity, the plan confines any future development of this nature to the following:
- On appropriate site(s) in the village centre.
- Infill sites or sites in need of regeneration.
Camping and Glamping
There are no designated camping or glamping sites in the plan area. Any demand for such uses shall be facilitated within the established caravan and mobile home parks or on other appropriate sites within the village subject to normal planning and environmental criteria including the protection of residential amenity.
Hotels and B & Bs
There are 2 no. hotels and only 1 no. B&B. The 2 hotels contribute significantly to the tourist accommodation product. The Council will encourage appropriate development to either expand or enhance facilities on these sites and would encourage additional B&B type accommodation in the area subject to compliance with normal planning and environmental criteria.
There are opportunities to promote green tourism packages and activity breaks in the area which would exploit the existing walkways, golf courses and water-based activities.
There is also significant potential for small to medium tourism enterprises such as restaurants, pubs, craft shops, fishing boat trips and bicycle hire and bus tours.
Recognising the growth in the demand for holiday homes has highlighted the need for additional local services and facilities and for greater balance in the type and quality of future development in the area.
Economic Development Objectives
It is the objective of the Council:
4.4.11 Recreation and Open Space
The provision of recreational facilities and amenities such as open spaces, public seating, footpaths, trails, playing fields, play areas and community halls can enhance well-being, encourage people to be active and promote safe community interaction and socialising. The village ‘green’/park are important amenities in terms of their function as well as their visual appeal.
Recreation and Open Space Objectives
It is the objective of the Council to:
4.4.12 Community and Education
There is ample provision for the community and education needs of the settlement of Rosslare Strand.
Community and Education Objective
It is the objective of the Council:
4.4.13 Surface Water, Flooding and Erosion
As noted in Section 4.3.9 flood risk is present along the western fringe of the settlement of Rosslare Strand, predominantly linked to a tidal influence. The development of these lands should be avoided and all future planning applications will be screened for flood risk, and may require the submission of an appropriately detailed site-specific flood risk assessment. Chapter 9 and Volume 11 contains detailed objectives with regard to development in areas at risk of flooding.
Given the drainage characteristics of the area and given that the natural surface water discharge leads to the adjacent natural heritage areas, careful consideration of surface water proposals in accordance with SuDS principles are required to both reduce the risk of flooding and to protect the heritage sites.
The Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI), through the CHERISH project, is surveying sections of the Irish coastline using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV's). In Rosslare, sections of eroding sand-dunes were surveyed in 2017 and in 2018. Up to 4m change in elevation was seen with nearly 5,800 m3 of material eroded as the shoreline retreats. This is not uniform, with erosion focused at discrete regions on the shoreline. Interestingly, nearly 5,300 m3 of sediment was deposited within the studied area, meaning that while erosion is occurring, much of that material is not moving far. In total, only 500 m3 of sediment transported out of the studied region, perhaps just offshore.
This type of data is essential for informed decision making in the area and will be used for the management of infrastructure, land-use and planning, and for future climate-change adaptation and mitigation. The Council will continue to work with the GSI and the OPW to ensure that risks posed by coastal erosion are carefully managed so as to protect people, property and coastal habitats.
Surface Water, Flooding and Erosion Objectives
It is the objective of the Council: