Southern Regional Assembly RSES LowRes

3.6 | Towns & Villages Rural towns and villages are the local drivers for their surrounding areas. Their roles and scale vary across the Region from large commuter-based settlements such as Tramore, to towns having a strong service and employment function. A sustainable, infrastructure-led growth approach is encouraged at the appropriate scale for all of these settlement types. Local authorities will categorise settlements and their appropriate growth rates in their development plans to reflect roles, environmental and infrastructural possibilities and limits.

Local authorities may take a targeted approach, such as the application of strategic locations for development within a county context. For example, Cork County Council and Clare County Council are considering an enhanced role for Bantry and Kilrush as service centres for West Cork and West Clare within their development plan reviews. Decline and dereliction are key issues facing towns and villages, including those above and below the 1,500-population threshold. Table 3.4 below highlights the performance of settlements in the Region by scale since the last Census.

Table 3.4 | Performance of Towns by reference to size

Town Scale (Population)

Number of towns 2016

Total Persons and % of Total Urban Population 2016

Growth*/De c l i ne Trends 2011-2016.

10,000 +


583,235 or 61% of total

87.5% growing/ 13% declining

5,000 to 9,999


109,271 or 11% of total

80% growing/ 20% declining

1,000 to 4,9999


149,129 or 16% of total

77% growing/ 23% declining

500 to 999


60,050 or 6% of total

67% growing/ 33% declining

Less than 500


56,350 or 6% of total

54% growing/ 46% declining

SOURCE | Statistics derived from analysis of CSO Census 2016

* Growth rate also include Static figures i.e. it includes towns recording 0% growth.

While many settlements have recorded growth, a greater proportion of smaller-scale settlements record a decline.

Challenges include: • Increasing building vacancy in rural towns and villages; • Demise of the historic vibrancy of town and village centres; • Loss of services, including schools, pubs, shops, garda stations and post offices; • Lack of available sites and services; • Preference to live outside settlements.

Southern Regional Assembly | RSES


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