Southern Regional Assembly RSES LowRes

3.5 | Key Towns Based on the criteria set out in the NPF, 14 Key Towns are identified that reflect the differing urban structures across the Region, their strategic role and location. They each play a critical role in underpinning the RSES and ensuring a consolidated spread of growth beyond the cities to the sub-regional level. It is envisaged that the Key Towns will be a focus for significant growth (more than 30%). The nature, scale and phasing of this growth will be determined by local authorities depending on a capacity analysis of each town. For some, this will result in significant population growth; for others, the emphasis may be on growth of services and facilities with more limited population growth. Six of the Key Towns have a very significant population scale; Kilkenny City, Ennis, Carlow, Tralee, Wexford and Clonmel. These are major centres for delivery of public

services, with large hospitals, third level institutions, courts, local and national government functions as well as economic and business roles and higher order retail functions. These Key Towns are self-sustaining regional drivers and have a comparable structure to the five regional growth centres identified in the NPF. Given their considerable scope for growth, it is envisaged that local authorities should plan for population growth of more than 30% by 2040. The large-scale Key Towns are complemented by a network of a further eight Key Towns; Killarney, Mallow, Nenagh, Thurles, Newcastle West, Clonakilty, Dungarvan and Gorey. They will play a significant role in strengthening the urban structure of the Region. This is based on their strategic location and influence, record of performance and delivery, employment and service functions, potential for employment led growth, sub- regional interdependencies and scope for collaboration. Based on capacity analysis (including historic growth levels), it is envisaged that local authorities will also plan for significant growth in these Key Towns.

RPO 11

g. To support learning, education and training initiatives, economic regeneration initiatives and enterprise facilities to address unemployment blackspots; h. To support initiatives which seek to strengthen and develop niche retail and mixed-use services in town centres; i. That any reference to support for all plans, projects, activities and development in the Key Towns should be considered to refer to ‘environmentally sustainable development’ that shall be subject to appropriate feasibility studies, best practice site/route selection (to consider environmental constraints), environmental assessment including EcIA to support development management and where required, the completion of statutory SEA, EIA and AA processes as appropriate; j. That local authorities consider the carrying capacity of SACs/SPAs, as appropriate, to inform the appropriate growth rates for Key Towns; k. To plan increasing population growth in all Key Towns on a phased basis in collaboration with IrishWater, the local authority and other stakeholders to ensure that the assimilative capacity of the receiving environment is not exceeded and that increased wastewater discharges frompopulation growth does not contribute to degradation of water quality and avoids adverse impacts on the integrity of water dependent habitats and species within the Natura 2000 network; l. To give due consideration to the suitability of new and/or existing drinking water sources (e.g. hydromorphological pressures) to meet the increased demands on the water supply and prevent adverse impacts on the integrity of water dependent habitats and species within the Natura 2000 network. The National Water Resources Plan (NWRP) will outline how we move towards a sustainable, secure and reliable public drinking water supply over the next 25 years, whilst safeguarding our environment.

Key Towns a. Local Authorities are supported in targeting growth of more than 30% for each Key Town subject to capacity analysis and sustainable criteria under Section 3.3 A Tailored Approach, RPO 3 Local Authority Core Strategies and the sustainable requirements under the following sub sections of RPO 11 Key Towns. The appropriate level of growth is to be determined by the Core Strategy of Development Plans; b. It is an objective to seek investment in holistic infrastructure inclusive of utilities, transportation, social and community, digital infrastructure and smart technologies environmental (including facilitation of climate change mitigation and of biodiversity promotion), climate change adaptation and future proofing infrastructure including flood risk management measures and flood defence schemes, recreational, arts and cultural that will deliver sustainable growth in Key Towns subject to the outcome of the planning process and environmental assessments; c. It is an objective that a Local Transport Plan will be prepared for all the Key Towns, on the basis provided for in RPO Local Transport Plans in Chapter 6; d. To support and promote vibrant, culturally-rich and revitalised Key Towns with enhanced social inclusion, engaged and active voluntary, non-profit and social enterprise sectors, sustainable neighbourhoods and a high level of environmental quality to ensure an excellent quality of life for all; e. To support and promote placemaking in all Key Towns to include public realm regeneration and urban renewal initiatives and public private partnership approaches for town centre regeneration; f. To seek the sustainable development of tourism facilities that enhance diverse tourism roles for Key Towns and seek investment in services to cater for increased population numbers arising from tourism;

Southern Regional Assembly | RSES


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