12. Settlement Plans

opendate_range23 Dec, 2020, 9:00am - 16 Mar, 2021, 4:00pm

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12.1   Strategic Aim

The strategic aim of this chapter is to create a network of attractive, liveable towns and villages in the County, with increased levels of population, employment activity and enhanced levels of amenity, which support a high quality of life and wellbeing, along with providing an alternative residential choice for those who may not wish to live in the rural countryside.

Related UN Sustainable Development Goals

Relevant UN Sustainable Goals                                         

Related NPF National Strategic Outcomes

Relevant NPF National Strategic Outcomes

Related RSES Growth Ambitions

Relevant RSES Growth Ambitions                                                                                               

12.2   Settlement Hierarchy Overview

The Core Strategy sets out the settlement hierarchy for the County, which is informed by the settlement hierarchy in the RSES; job-to-work ratio, asset capacity matrix and the role/function of settlements in County Mayo, in order to determine an overall growth strategy and its position on the settlement hierarchy.

Settlement Type

Settlements

Role

Tier I

Strategic Growth Towns

Ballina, Castlebar & Westport

 

 

Large urban centres with a high level of jobs and services, with the capacity to act as significant economic growth drivers within the Mayo Catchment and wider region, including complementing the Galway Metropolitan Area and Sligo Regional Growth Centre.

Tier II

Self- Sustaining Growth Towns

 

Ballinrobe, Ballyhaunis, Béal an Mhuirthead (Belmullet), Claremorris & Swinford.

Self-Sustaining Growth Towns with a moderate level of jobs and services and their own labour catchment areas. These towns have good transport links and have the capacity for continued sustainable growth. These towns play an important role in supporting the social, economic and cultural life within rural communities.

Tier III

Self- Sustaining Towns

 

Balla, Charlestown, Crossmolina, Foxford, Killala, Kiltimagh, Knock, Louisburgh & Newport.

Self-Sustaining Towns with low to moderate levels of population growth and a limited localised employment base and which are largely reliant on other areas for employment and/or services. These towns play an important role in supporting the social, economic and cultural life within rural communities.

Tier IV

Rural Settlements

 

 

Ballindine, Ballycastle, Bangor Erris, Belcarra, Bellavary, Bohola, Bunnyconnelan, Cong, Dumha Thuama (Doohoma), Gob An Choire (Achill Sound), Irishtown, Keel-Dooagh, Kilkelly, Kilmaine, Lahardane, Mulranny, Shrule &  Turlough.

Towns and villages with local service and limited employment functions, which play an important role in supporting the social, economic and cultural life within rural communities.

Tier V

Rural Villages

 

 

Aghagower, Aghamore, An Tinbhear (Inver), Attymass, Ballycroy, Ballyglass, Ballyheane, Bekan, Breaffy, Brickens, Bun an Churraigh (Bunnacurry), Carnacon,  Carracastle, Ceathrú Thaidhg (Carrowteige), Corrchloch (Corclough), Cross, Crossboyne, Doogort, Eachléim (Aghleam), Gaoth Sáile (Gweesalia), Geata Mór (Binghamstown), Gleann na Muaidhe (Glenamoy), Glenhest, Glenisland, Hollymount, Islandeady Kilmovee, Knockmore, Mayo Abbey, Moygownagh, Moyne (Kilmeena), Parke, Partry, Poll an tSómas (Pollatomish), Roundfort, The Neale & Tuar Mhic Éadaigh (Tourmakeady).

Villages with local service functions, which play an important role in supporting the social, economic and cultural life within rural communities.

Table 12.1:  Settlement Hierarchy for the Draft Mayo County Development Plan

12.3.   Settlement Plans

Individual local area plans will be prepared for the Tier I towns of Ballina, Castlebar and Westport, as statutorily required under the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended).

Settlement Plans have been prepared for all Tier II, Tier III, Tier IV and Tier V towns and villages. These plans align with the Core and Settlement Strategy (Chapter 2) and were informed by the asset capacity matrix and the principles set out in Thriving Towns and Villages as per Figure 12.1 below. Each settlement is defined by a development boundary, wherein development is generally encouraged in an orderly sequential manner outward from the core area, depending on the nature of development and the function of the settlement within the Settlement Hierarchy. This pattern of development will maximise the utility of existing and future infrastructure provision in a manner that promotes sustainability, active travel and makes more efficient use of underutilised lands.

Thriving Towns and Villages

  Figure 12.1 - Thriving Towns and Villages. Original Source - Plymouth Town Council

12.3.1   Land Use

12.3.1.1   Tier II Settlements

Tier II towns adopt a conventional land use zoning approach for all lands within the settlement plan boundary. This formal zoning approach identifies lands to accommodate various categories of development, as set out in Table 12.2 (Land Use Zoning Objectives). Table 2.3 (Land-use Matrix) provides guidance on compatible land uses within land use zoning categories.

In order to ensure the effective delivery of new housing targets for each settlement as set out in the Core Strategy, a greater quantity of lands is provided for proposed residential development outside of the defined town centre area. All such lands identified for residential purposes are zoned on serviceable lands. Upon reaching the 70% new household target outside the town centre area for each town, (as set out in the Core Strategy), all remaining undeveloped zoned residential lands will revert to strategic residential reserve lands. An effective monitoring system will be developed and implemented to ensure projected residential unit targets for each Tier II towns are not exceeded over the plan period.  

Town Centre Consolidation Sites have also been identified for Tier II towns to revitalise and repopulate town centre. These consolidation sites provide an indicative block framework for the future development of these lands and indicate appropriate development types and potential permeability pathways for pedestrians/cyclists and vehicles. It is envisaged that the 30% new household target within the town centre area (as set out in the Core Strategy), will generally be located within these lands.

A Rural Transition zoning category is provided along the perimeter of each settlement plan. This zoning category accommodates agricultural compatible developments, including single rural houses. It offers an opportunity to build a rural-type house close to a settlement, wherein the distance to employment, schools, retail and other services is reduced, thereby contributing to a reduction of County Mayo’s carbon emissions.

Land Use Zoning Objectives 

It is an objective of the Council to implement the following land use zoning objectives for lands in Tier II Settlements: 

1a. Agriculture

To reserve land for agricultural and rural uses and to preserve the amenity of the town setting.

1b. Community Services/Facilities

To provide land for community and social facilities.

1c. Enterprise & Employment

To provide land for light industrial and appropriate commercial development.

1d. Industry

To provide land for industrial use and ancillary facilities. 

1e. Infrastructure & Utilities

To provide land for public infrastructure and public utilities. 

1f. Recreation & Amenity

To provide land for recreation and amenity purposes. 

1g. Residential (including Strategic Residential Reserve Boundary).

To protect the amenity of existing residential areas and provide further lands primarily for residential development at appropriate densities and ancillary facilities.  

1h. Rural Transition 

To act as a transitional area between the build-up area and the rural hinterland.  This zoning facilitates agricultural compatible development, including single houses.

1i. Strategic Residential Reserve

To protect and safeguard undeveloped residentially suitable lands for future use. These lands are not developable during the lifetime of this plan. Single houses shall only be considered on a limited basis, where it is established that the lands in question are part of the overall family land holding and no other appropriately zoned lands are available within the plan boundary. 

1j. Town centre

To maintain and enhance the vitality, viability and environment of the town centre and provide for appropriate town centre uses

1k. Town Centre Consolidation Sites

To promote the sustainable consolidation of the town centre with a focus on infill and brownfield sites.  The zoning primarily provides lands for residential uses and other compatible town centre uses.

Table 12.2 Land Use Zoning Objectives for Tier II Settlement Plans

Land Use Zoning Matrix

Land Use Zoning

Uses Generally Permitted

Residential Medium Density in Strategic Residential Reverse Boundary

(≤20 units/Ha)

 

Houses, apartments, retirement homes, care homes, medical services, public and community facilities, institutional uses, childcare facilities, places of worship, local shops, local services, leisure & recreation, open space; along with uses that are considered ancillary to the aforementioned uses.

Local and home offices may be acceptable, provided that there is no detrimental impact on residential amenity or traffic and that the use does not prejudice the primary use of the town centre for office use.

All proposals that would be detrimental to established or future residential amenity will not be permitted. These include industrial and warehousing and uses generating significant levels of traffic, noise and other nuisance.

Residential Low Density in Strategic Residential Reverse Boundary

(≤5 units/Ha)

 

Houses, serviced sites for single houses, retirement homes, care homes, childcare facilities, outdoor recreation, open space, agriculture, and community facilities; along with uses that are considered ancillary to the aforementioned uses.

Local and home offices may be acceptable, provided that there is no detrimental impact on residential amenity or traffic and that the use does not prejudice the primary use of the town centre for office use.

Development which is compatible with the adjacent land use zoning and which will not have an adverse effect on existing uses may be permitted.

All proposals that would be detrimental to established or future residential amenity will not be permitted. These include industrial and warehousing and uses generating significant levels of traffic, noise and other nuisance.

Town Centre

 

Shops (including supermarkets), off‐licenses, offices, civic and public buildings, places of worship, public houses, hotels, restaurants, indoor leisure, car parks, apartments, houses, community facilities, parks and open spaces and retirement homes; along with uses that are considered ancillary to the aforementioned uses.

Uses that would be detrimental to the vitality and amenity of the town centre, such as industrial uses, will not normally be permitted.

Town Centre Consolidation Site

Residential High Density

(≤35 units/Ha)

Residential and appropriate mixed use, community, amenity and public realm or other uses generally considered acceptable in town centre locations.

Uses that would be detrimental to the vitality and amenity of the town centre, such as industrial uses, will not normally be permitted.

Enterprise & Employment

 

Light Industry, Warehousing (retail and non‐retail), Major Offices, Business and Technology Units, Specialist Offices, R&D enterprises, car showrooms, light engineering works, wholesale and trade outlets, public utilities, petrol filling stations, builders providers, repair garages, civic amenity centres, agriculture outlets, distribution depots, heavy vehicle parks, workshops, tourism related development; along with uses that are considered ancillary to the aforementioned uses.

Uses that would prejudice the primacy of town centre or would undermine the objectives of other land use zoning will not be permitted.

Industry

 

Industry, Light Industry, Heavy Engineering Works, Warehousing (non‐retail), Business & Technology Units, R&D Enterprises; along with uses considered ancillary to the aforementioned uses.

Uses that would prejudice the primary industrial function of this zoning or would undermine the objectives of other zoning will not be permitted. These include residential and retail uses.

Recreation & Amenity

Outdoor sport and recreation, buildings associated with outdoor sport and recreation and ancillary uses, parks, open space, camp sites, agriculture, allotments; along with uses that are considered ancillary to the aforementioned uses.

Temporary markets and exhibitions may be permitted.

Community Service/Facilities

Schools and education, places of worship, community centres, health centres, leisure and recreation, libraries, cemeteries, open space, childcare facilities, public and civic facilities; along with uses that are considered ancillary to the aforementioned uses.

Agriculture

 

Agriculture, open space, public utilities, outdoor, recreation, camp sites, allotments and cemeteries; along with uses that are considered ancillary to the aforementioned uses.

New houses will only be permitted in this zone to applicants with demonstrable economic or social need to live in these areas.

Rural Transition

Agriculture, open space, public utilities, outdoor, recreation, camp sites, allotments and cemeteries; along with uses that are considered ancillary to the aforementioned uses.

New houses will be considered in this zone on their individual merits.

Strategic Residential Reserve

Future residential lands, not generally developable in the lifetime of the plan. Temporary uses will be considered on their individual merit, subject to the use not adversely impacting on the intended future use of these lands. Single houses will be considered on a limited basis, where it is established that the lands in question are part of the overall family land holding and no other appropriately zoned lands are available within the plan boundary. 

Infrastructure & Utilities

Public utilities infrastructure, public and civic facilities and public infrastructure, along with uses considered ancillary to the aforementioned uses.

Opportunity Site (Claremorris):   

To provide for the production of electricity by renewable energy technologies, incorporating wood Biomass only.  To provide for a mix of industries (with no production of wood chip or wood pellets on this site) or research and development facilities where it is established that there is a need to locate such uses, within, adjacent or in close proximity to the primary user of the site (i.e. for the production of electricity from renewable energy technologies, incorporating wood Biomass only) or where it is established that there is insufficient appropriately zoned lands to facilitate such uses.

Table 12.3: Land Use Matrix for Tier II Settlement Plans

Advise Note: Where a use is proposed that is not listed in the matrix, development proposals will be assessed on their individual merits in accordance with the general guidance provided by the matrix and having regard the principles of proper planning and sustainable development of the area and compliance with the relevant policies and objectives (including land use zoning objectives), standards and requirements as set out in the Plan.

12.3.1.2   Tier III, IV and V Towns and Villages

All Tier III, IV and V towns and villages adopt a single category consolidation land use zoning. This flexible zoning approach provides for a mix of development types that supports the sustainable consolidated growth of these rural towns and villages. All proposals must be compatible with existing adjoining land uses, the character of the area and should also encourage Active Travel. Opportunity Sites have also been identified for Tier III towns. These sites are located within or close to the core of each settlement and seek to guide residential development in a manner that revitalises and repopulates town centres.

General Settlement Policies

GSP 1

To support and promote commensurate population, service and employment growth, to enable the Tiers II and III settlements to fulfil their role as a self-sustaining growth towns and self-sustaining towns, respectively. 

GSP 2

To support and encourage the development/redevelopment of identified Town Centre Consolidation Sites and Opportunity Sites in Tier II and Tier III settlements.

GSP 3

To support the provision of mixed-use developments in the town centre which create opportunities to live, work, shop, etc., within the town and reduce the propensity to travel by private car. 

GSP 4

To encourage redevelopment of all derelict buildings within all settlement plan areas listed on the Derelict Sites Register.  

GSP 5

To support and promote the re-use and regeneration of derelict land and other buildings in town centre areas for retail and other appropriate uses with due cognisance to the Sequential Approach prescribed in the retail planning guidelines 2012 or amended or superseding guidelines. 

GSP 6

To encourage the appropriate use of unoccupied/derelict buildings in the town for start-up businesses and community facilities.

GSP 7

To cooperate with relevant agencies to secure improvements to the public transport system serving Tier II and III settlement towns and to support initiatives designed to improve bus interchange facilities. 

GSP 8

To support the establishment of green routes and an accessible walking / cycling network throughout the settlement plan areas and surrounding areas that provides safe and attractive circulation routes for pedestrians and cyclists for the enjoyment and recreational use of the entire community by linking residential areas, community facilities, amenities and the town centre.  

GSP 9 

To support and encourage Irish Water in increasing the provision of adequate wastewater and water infrastructure, to ensure that services are delivered in line with the further development and growth of settlements.

GSP 10

To support and encourage key stakeholders/providers in increasing the provision of adequate key physical infrastructure (i.e. transportation, parking, communications,  energy etc.) and to support the provision of key social infrastructure (health care services, education facilities, burial grounds, fire and emergency services, recreational, cultural facilities etc.) in Tier II and Tier III settlements.

General Tier II and III Settlement Objectives

GSO 1

To ensure appropriate development occurs in a sequential manner outward from the core area, to maximise the utility of existing and future infrastructure provision, to promote sustainability and active travel, to make more efficient use of underutilised lands, and to avoid the inappropriate extension of services and utilities.

GSO 2

To encourage and facilitate the development of the economic and tourism potential of towns in a manner that respects, builds on, protects and enhances the cultural, built heritage, natural heritage and local amenities of the town.

GSO 3

To ensure that the town centre is accessible to all members of the community, including people with mobility issues, the elderly and people with young children. 

GS0 4

To work with Irish Water and landowners on the “New Homes in Small Towns and Villages” initiative to augment the delivery of actions by Local Authorities, Irish Water, communities and other stakeholders in the provision of services and serviced sites to create “build your own home” opportunities within the existing footprint of settlements, to meet housing demand.

GSO 5

To require proposals for new development to integrate with existing Green Infrastructure networks and contribute to the development and protection of overall Green Infrastructure assets.

GSO 6

To use active land management measures, such as the Vacant Site Levy (Urban Regeneration and Housing Act 2015, as amended) and Derelict Site Levy (The Derelict Sites Act 1990 (as amended)), to ensure the delivery of the projected housing units in the identified Town Centre Consolidation Sites and residential zoned lands in Tier II Self-Sustaining Growth Towns, as set out in the Core Strategy or any subsequent Town Centre Consolidation Sites identified over the lifetime of the plan.

GSO 7

To promote and facilitate the delivery of multiple residential development in the identified Opportunity Sites for Tier III Self-Sustaining Towns or any subsequent Opportunity Sites identified over the lifetime of the plan.

GSO 8

To ensure applications for development within the settlement boundaries on lands identified as flood risk areas including benefitting lands, shall be subject to a Specific Flood Risk Assessment and Justification Test, in accordance with the Planning System and Flood Risk Management – Guidelines for Planning Authorities, 2009 or any superseding guidelines and circulars.

GSO 9

To facilitate, identify, support and secure a strategic footpath and cycleway network throughout the plan areas, as appropriate and as resources allow.

GSO 10

To support and facilitate pedestrian mobility and safety in Tier II and III towns by introducing traffic calming measures and pedestrian crossings, where necessary.

GSO 11

To support and where possible, implement measures to create interpretative walking routes in and around Tier II and III towns, linking to special features of built and natural heritage interest.

GSO 12

To develop the local economy by encouraging additional commercial businesses and industries and to promote the clustering of such industries on suitably zoned land in Tier II settlements and at appropriate locations within Tier III settlements.

GSO 13

To protect the role of the town centre as the dominant retailing and commercial area.

GSO 14

To implement the land use zoning objectives in each Tier II settlement plans.

GSO 15

To actively provide or facilitate the provision/upgrade of identified infrastructural deficiencies in settlement plan areas.

12.3.2 Tier II and Tier III Settlements

The general policies and objectives for Tier II and Tier III settlements Plan are set out in Section 12.3.2 above. The settlement plans provide information on each Self-Sustaining Growth Towns (Tier II) and Self-Sustaining Towns (Tier III) developed from the asset capacity matrix and the principles of Thriving Towns and Villages (Figure 12.1). A conventional zoning map is provided for each Tier II town, along with identification of town centre consolidation sites, followed by town specific policies and objectives. A single category mixed-use zoning map is provided for each Tier III town, along with identification of residential opportunity sites, followed by town specific policies and objectives.

12.4   Ballinrobe (Tier II)

12.4.1   Location and Context

Ballinrobe town is situated along the main Galway to Castlebar road at the junction of the N84 National Secondary Road and the R334 Regional Road. The town is approximately 50km north-west of Galway City, 30km south from Castlebar and 36km south east of Westport. The Ballinrobe area is known as the ‘Lake District’ of Mayo and the town is well located for easy access to some of the most scenic areas in Ireland.

The population of Ballinrobe has more than doubled in size (112.8%) over the last twenty years, from 1,309 persons in 1996 (Census figures) to 2,786 persons in 2016 (Census figures). Ballinrobe is the 5th largest settlement in Mayo, the 19th largest in the Western Region and the 124th largest in the State. According to POWCAR 2016, the total number of jobs located within Ballinrobe was 1,077. The Ballinrobe labour catchment is the 27th largest labour catchment in the Western Region with a resident ‘at work’ population of 1,859, and a job to work ratio of 0.969.

12.4.2   Historical Context and Settlement Form

The Irish place name for Ballinrobe is Baile an Róba, which translates as “town of the (river) Robe”. Ballinrobe is said to be the oldest town in Mayo and dates back to 1390. Ballinrobe was first established as a market town in 1605, with the town’s role as a garrison town during British rule still very much evident today, in the form of the town’s rich built heritage. The town has one of the highest concentrations of protected structures in the county. This reflects the historic significance of the town and the important role these buildings play in defining its character and identity. The town has a relatively compacted form framed around a central urban block, with existing residential areas generally located outside of the town centre core.

12.4.3   Function and Vision

Ballinrobe is situated within the Claremorris-Swinford Municipal District. The town provides a wide range of services and facilities to meet the daily needs of the local population. It is an important service town for the wide agricultural hinterland of south Mayo and north Connemara. Ballinrobe also functions as a Gaeltacht Service Town for the nearby Clonbur and Tourmakeady Gaeltacht regions.

It is envisioned that Ballinrobe, along with the Claremorris and Ballyhaunis, can form a Growth Cluster in South Mayo to harness their combined strengths to contribute towards the consolidation of the Atlantic Economic Corridor. Opportunity exists in the town for regeneration and consolidated growth within the existing built footprint.

12.4.4   Economic Development

The main employment sectors in the town according to Census 2016 is the Services Sector (32%), followed by Education, Human Health and Social Work (20.5%) and Manufacturing Industries (16.9%). The town is well served in terms of convenience and comparison shopping, with three of the main supermarket chains located in or close to the town centre. The town also contains several local independent shops. Potential exists in the town centre in the form of appropriately located, undeveloped lands and the re-use of existing vacant buildings, to further enhance the convenience and comparison retail offer. Ballinrobe is home to McHale Engineering, who are a successful indigenous business in both the domestic and international agricultural industry, providing innovative technologies in agricultural machinery. The business has a large employment base drawing from Ballinrobe and the surrounding hinterland.

12.4.5   Social Infrastructure

Ballinrobe serves as the retail centre and employment base for a larger rural catchment area and provides a range of services, social and community facilities, including a library, Garda station, county council office, post office, medical centres, pre-school, primary school, secondary school, churches, banks, enterprise centre, retail shops and public houses within the town. Ballinrobe also has numerous community, sporting and social clubs. Sports and recreational facilities in the town comprise of a racecourse, GAA, soccer pitches, rugby pitches, and children’s playground. The town has an active Community Development Council, their objectives include creating sustainable local development, seeking additional infrastructural services and improving the socio‐economic conditions in the town.  Bowers Walk, along the River Robe, and The Green constitute valuable natural amenities and visitor attractions for the town.

12.4.6   Physical Infrastructure

Ballinrobe is served by the N84, R331 and R334 national and regional road network. The town is served by an existing municipal wastewater treatment plant (8,000PE) and a water supply from the Lough Mask Regional water supply scheme. There is sufficient capacity for the projected population increase as set out in the Core Strategy. The town also benefits from fibre optic broadband infrastructure (Metropolitan Area Network and VDSL broadband) and has a connection to the national gas grid. A dismantled railway line between runs between Ballinrobe and Claremorris, providing an opportunity to re-establish the line as a walking cycling route or as a spur of the Western Rail Corridor.

12.4.7   Heritage and Tourism

Ballinrobe is rich in built heritage with protected structures (35), NIAH structures (35) and local vernacular buildings, all of which are reflective of the historical development, sense of place and character of the town. The protection, promotion and enhancement of the built and natural heritage of the town and its immediate environs is promoted in this plan. Mayo County Council has carried out habitat mapping in Ballinrobe, which has informed the identification of Local Biodiversity Areas in the town, while an Action Plan has been prepared for Ballinrobe, aimed at conserving and enhancing the natural heritage of the town.  The Bowers Walk is an important amenity for locals and visitors to Ballinrobe. This riverside walk stretches for approximately 3 kilometres along the River Robe starting at the bridge on Bridge Street towards Creagh Bridge and along the old towpath of the canal.  Swans and wildlife are plentiful along the walk, together with a variety of flora and fauna when in season.

Lough Mask is home to the annual trout fly fishing World Cup Championship, which attracts significant numbers of tourists into the town. Horse racing forms an important part of the Ballinrobe’s heritage and also acts as tourist driver for the town. Ballinrobe is also a base to visit other notable tourist attractions such as Bowers Walk heritage trail, Ballinrobe Golf Course, Cong, Ballintubber Abbey, Moore Hall and Ireland West Airport Knock. Potential exists for the development of tourist accommodation for visitors travelling to and from these locations. This plan seeks to encourage appropriate development within the town to facilitate and support its tourism potential.

12.4.8   Sustainable Communities

Ballinrobe provides an attractive place to live, is rich in heritage, natural beauty and amenity. The town plays an important economic, social and cultural role for the inhabitants of the town itself and the wider hinterland. The town has good community stakeholder engagement and an active Tidy Towns committee. In order to help create sustainable communities, the development strategy for Ballinrobe is to support new housing and population growth, consistent with the Core Strategy. The NPF and RSES recognise that settlement patterns play a fundamental role in influencing how people travel, both the distances undertaken and the modal choice. New housing will be accommodated through facilitating compact growth and the through revitalisation of the historic town core, together with providing of a mix of housing types, densities and tenure to meet the needs of the area. A strong emphasis is placed on building communities with a high standard of design, the principles of place-making, green infrastructure, permeability and connectivity alongside the integration of community and recreation facilities.

12.4.9   Sustainable Travel

Ballinrobe is located on the main daily bus route between Westport and Galway. A local community bus service, operated by the Mayo Local Link, also serves the town and the surrounding hinterlands. The number of people who walk to their place of work, study and other services in town is above the national average (9.3%). According to 2016 POWCAR, 12.8% of the daily population walk. However, use of cycling as a sustainable mode of travel is less than 1%, compared to the national average (3%). Therefore, Mayo County Council promotes and supports the development of public transport initiatives, in keeping with the principles of Smarter Travel. To increase the usage of cycling in the town will require further study (audit), the provision of new or retrofitted infrastructure and adherence to DMURS guidance standards.   

12.4.10   Placemaking and Regeneration

Ballinrobe provides the focus for a wide range of activities that contribute to a sense of place and identity. The town has a compacted town centre with a strong continuous street frontage of two and three storey buildings. It also has relatively narrow street proportions and resultant traffic congestion. The two iconic water storage towers provide a sense of place for the town. A number of studies have taken place in Ballinrobe to enhance its urban fabric and address the issues of vacancy within the town centre, including a Town Renewal Scheme study (2000); a Public Realm Plan (2018); projects carried out under the Historic Towns Initiative scheme; and an Adaptive Reuse Project (2019). The Public Realm Plan includes key objectives around the sustainable reuse of existing buildings and a need to encourage town centre living. A number of successful projects have received funding under the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund, including regeneration works for the development of Market House, the town library and grounds and an upgrade of Bowers Walk.

In terms of placemaking, the main priority is the consolidation of the town centre and support of existing business in order to maintain vibrancy. A challenging issue facing Ballinrobe is the extent of dereliction and vacancy in the town centre, with notable concentrations of vacant structures on Main Street, Glebe Street and especially Bridge Street. Many buildings in the centre lend themselves for suitable for renovation of upper storeys into residential use. Ground floors should, however, be prioritised for commercial and community uses that activate the street, where possible. Together, these will help sustain town vibrancy, including the evening economy. Accordingly, the potential for more appropriate use of under-utilised sites, vacant sites and buildings within the existing built-up footprint of Ballinrobe, to drive the delivery of quality housing, services and employment opportunities, in tandem with supporting social infrastructure is promoted.  

A main priority of the Ballinrobe Settlement Plan is the regeneration and repopulation of the town centre, through the sustainable reuse of existing buildings, focusing on dereliction and the appropriate development of infill consolidation site(s), underpinned by good urban design and placemaking principles.

12.4.11   Town Centre Consolidation Site

Site A - Convent Road/New Street

A site has been identified along Convent Road in Ballinrobe town centre (Map BE1), which presents opportunity to increase population within the town centre in line with the Core Strategy. This two-hectare site is strategically located to the east of the town centre. An indicative framework has been provided for the site to guide its potential development. 

Site A:

Location: Lands south of Convent Road.

Area: Site area of c. 2 ha.

Zoning: Town Centre Mixed Use

Potential uses: Residential and Mixed-Use

Map 12.1 Consolidation Site A Ballinrobe

Map 12.1 Consolidation Site A Ballinrobe

Site B – Cranmore House

No indicative development framework has been developed for Site B, owing to the presence of Cranmore House which is a Protected Structure (RPS No. 76). Any future development must prepare a site brief / masterplan for the proposed site and carefully consider the impacts in the Protected Structure.

Site B:

Location: Lands at Cranmore House.

Area: Site area of c. 2.35 ha.

Zoning: Town Centre Mixed Use

Potential uses: Residential and Mixed-Use

Map 12.2 Consolidation Site B Ballinrobe

Map 12.2 Consolidation Site B Ballinrobe

Ballinrobe Settlement Plan Policies  

BEP  1

To promote the development of Ballinrobe as a driver of economic growth for the south region of county Mayo and fulfil its role as a designated Self-Sustaining Growth Town and support the potential for the creation of an Economic Growth Cluster in tandem with the towns of Ballyhaunis and Claremorris.

BEP 2

To promote and support the redevelopment and refurbishment of Bridge Street/High Street whilst safeguarding the protected structures and their curtilages along the street.

BEP 3

To promote and support the appropriate refurbishment of Cranmore House and the Military Barracks for amenity and cultural purposes.

BEP 4

To promote and support the reestablishment of the Ballinrobe to Claremorris dismantled railway line as a walking and cycling route or as a spur line of the Western Rail corridor.  

BEP 5

To promote and support the enhancement and extension of the Bowers Walk River walkway and safeguard the value of the river as an ecological “green corridor”. Riverside walkway provisions should be incorporated, where appropriate, into development proposals bounding the river.

BEP 6

To promote and support the implementation of the projects listed within the Ballinrobe Public Realm Plan during the plan period, to improve attractiveness and permeability of the public realm.

Ballinrobe Settlement Plan Objectives

BEO 1

To ensure infill development respects the unique heighttowidth ratio with respect to building design in Ballinrobe town centre and maintain the existing sense of enclosure on town centre streets.

BEO 2

To consider the designation in the town centre of an Architectural Conservation Area, including all or parts of Bowgate Street, Main Street, High Street/Bridge Street, Glebe Street and Abbey Street.

BEO 3

To support and facilitate the development of the two identified town centre consolidation sites in Ballinrobe for appropriate uses, as outlined in Section 12.4.11, and as generally permitted on town centre consolidation sites in the Land Use Zoning Matrix.

BEO 4

To seek and encourage ways to make more use of the Cornmarket area, including making the area pedestrian and market-place friendly and encourage and support the provision of a weekly market in the Cornmarket area.  

BEO 5

To protect the water quality and riparian zone of the rivers Robe and Bulkan. Any proposed developments adjacent to or close to watercourses shall be carefully assessed to ensure that there is no adverse impact to the water course, its riparian zone or to any waterbody into which it flows.

BEO 6

To seek to make Tree Preservation Orders for the tree groups along the River Robe and important tree groups in the town.

BEO 7

To encourage development in the town of Ballinrobe in accordance with the Land Use Zoning Map (Map BE1).

BEO 8

To encourage and facilitate the re-use and regeneration of derelict land and buildings for retail and other town centre uses with due cognisance to the Sequential Approach prescribed in the Retail Planning Guidelines 2012. (Refer to Map BE2)

BEO 9

To use active land management measures, such as the vacant site levy and derelict site levy to ensure the delivery of the projected housing units for Ballinrobe, as set out in the Core Strategy, on town centre consolidation sites and residential zoned lands (Map BE3).

12.5   Ballyhaunis (Tier II)

12.5.1   Location and Context

Ballyhaunis is located in east Mayo at the intersection of the N60 and N83 national routes and within close proximity to a number of large urban centres such as Claremorris and Tuam. The town also lies on the Dublin‐Westport railway line and provides a wide range of services and amenities to a significant rural hinterland.

The population of Ballyhaunis has nearly doubled in size (84%) over the last twenty years, from 1,287 persons in 1996 (Census figures) to 2,366 persons in 2016 (Census figures). Ballyhaunis is the 6th largest settlement in Mayo, the 27th largest in the Western Region and the 147th largest in the state. According to POWCAR 2016, the total number of jobs located within Ballyhaunis was 1,226. The Ballyhaunis labour catchment is the 21st largest labour catchment in the Western Region with a resident ‘at work’ population of 2,601 and a job to work ratio of 1.460.

12.5.2   Historical Context and Settlement Form

Béal Átha hAmhnais translates to "ford-mouth of strife". The footprint of the town has developed primarily to the west of the River Dalgan, focussed around four main streets: i.e. Main Street, Knox Street, Bridge Street and Clare Road. The town originally developed around the Augustinian Friary, which dates from 1348.  The structure of the settlement is well defined with retail and commercial uses primarily located within its town core, and with educational, institutional and community uses generally located on the outskirts.

12.5.3   Function and Vision

Ballyhaunis is located in the Claremorris Municipal District. The town is an important employment base in the east of the county, particularly in the areas of food processing, agri-engineering and manufacturing. Mayo County Council promotes the consolidation of growth within the established footprint of the town in conjunction with regeneration, public realm enhancement, while supporting local employment and the expansion of services to meet the needs of residents and visitors. It is envisioned that Ballyhaunis, along with the Claremorris and Ballinrobe can form a Growth Cluster in South Mayo to harness their combined strengths to contribute towards the consolidation of the Atlantic Economic Corridor.

12.5.4   Economic Development

Ballyhaunis has an established industrial and manufacturing base in the town. According to 2016 POWCAR figures Manufacturing Industries account for 27.3% of the main employment sectors in the town, which is significantly higher that the state average (13%). The other main employment sectors in the town include the Service Sector (19.3%) and ICT and Professional Services (9%).

The key economic activities in Ballyhaunis are concentrated in a number of significant companies that relate directly and indirectly to the food processing industry. The town also has a range of other manufacturing industries that includes furniture, plastics and kitchen construction. A range of medium to small retail outlets, as well as employment in the state sector and the financial sector provide important employment in the town. Opportunities also exist for start-ups and incubation hubs in Ballyhaunis at the Enterprise Centre, located centrally. Additionally, Ballyhaunis remains an important service town for a wide agricultural hinterland in East Mayo and with a reach into County Roscommon.

12.5.5   Social Infrastructure

Ballyhaunis serves as the retail centre and employment base for a larger rural catchment area and provides a range of services, social and community facilities, including a library, outdoor swimming pool, garda station, post office, medical centres, pre-school, primary school, secondary school, two churches, bank, enterprise centre, retail shops and public houses within the town. It is also home to Ireland's first purpose-built mosque. Ballyhaunis also has numerous community, sporting and social clubs. Sports and recreational facilities in the town comprise of a GAA club, a rugby pitch, children’s playgrounds, Multi Use Games Area (MUGA) and outdoor gym at the Friary grounds. The Abbey Walk, along the Dalgan River, at the Friary grounds, also constitutes a valuable natural amenity and visitor attraction for the town.

12.5.6   Physical Infrastructure

Ballyhaunis is served by the N60 and N83 National Roads. The town also has direct rail links to Dublin, is located within twenty-minute drive of Ireland West Airport Knock and has VDSL broadband (Very high-speed Digital Subscriber Line) available. Ballyhaunis is served by an existing municipal wastewater treatment plant (4,000PE) and a water supply from the Lough Mask regional water supply scheme. There is sufficient capacity in this infrastructure to cater for the projected population increase as set out in the Core Strategy.

12.5.7   Tourism and Heritage

The Augustinian Friary in Ballyhaunis is the second oldest friary in Mayo, after Ballintubber Abbey. The Friary and its grounds and graveyard are a prominent cultural amenity and tourist attraction in the town. Other tourist attractions include Ballyhaunis Golf Course, a 9-hole parkland course situated on the N83 on the outskirts of the town. Knock Shrine, Connaught GAA Centre of Excellence and Ireland West Airport Knock are in close proximity to Ballyhaunis. Potential exists for the development of tourist accommodation in the town for visitors travelling to and from these locations. The Friary Ground in Ballyhaunis also serves as an important natural amenity for locals and visitors alike, and includes a walkway along the river, playground, MUGA and outdoor gym, along with a new sensory garden and an abundance of flora and fauna.

12.5.8   Sustainable Communities

Ballyhaunis is rich in culture, heritage and amenity, with a diverse mix of cultures and nationalities. The town is the most diverse and inclusive in the country in the 2016 Census, with migrants from 20 different ethnicities making up more than half of the population. Ballyhaunis is a good example of a mixed community, living, working and co-operating together, to create a great place for people to live and bring up families. The town also has good community stakeholder engagement and an active Tidy Towns committee. In order to help create sustainable communities, the development strategy for Ballyhaunis is to support new housing and population growth, consistent with the Core Strategy.

The NPF and RSES recognise that settlement patterns play a fundamental role in influencing how people travel, both in terms of the distances undertaken and the modal choice. Stronger connections and linkages between residential settlements and the town centre is important in ensuring sustainable communities. The NPF and RSES recognise that settlement patterns play a fundamental role in influencing how people travel, both the distances undertaken and the modal choice. New housing will be accommodated through facilitating compact growth and the through revitalisation of the historic town core, together with providing of a mix of housing types, densities and tenure to meet the needs of the area. A strong emphasis is placed on building communities with a high standard of design, the principles of place-making, green infrastructure, permeability and connectivity alongside the integration of community and recreation facilities. In this regard, a number of Town Centre Consolidation Sites have been identified to encourage development within the town centre.

12.5.9   Sustainable Travel

The number of people who walk to their place of work, study and other services in town is above the national average (9.3%). According to 2016 POWCAR, 15.71% of the daily population walk. However, use of cycling as a sustainable mode of travel is less than 1%, compared to the national average (3%). Therefore, Mayo County Council promotes and supports the development of public transport initiatives, in keeping with the principles of Smarter Travel. To increase the usage of cycling in the town will require further study (audit), the provision of new or retrofitted infrastructure and adherence to DMURS guidance standards.   

12.5.10   Place Making and Regeneration

Ballyhaunis provides the focus for a wide range of activities that contribute to a sense of place and identity. Public realm enhancement works have been completed at Market Square, Knox Street, Clare Street and Bridge Street through funding received under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme. These public realm enhancement and refurbishment works comprised of paving, upgrading of pedestrian footpaths and crossings, undergrounding of overhead cables, new public lighting, surface water alleviation works, all of which have visually enhanced the attractiveness of the town centre. These works also provide social and environmental benefits to the local community and to visitors to the town, encouraging economic growth and providing a pedestrian bias within the town centre. It is envisaged these works will act as a catalyst to assist with the revitalisation of existing building stock along Main Street, Knox Street, Bridge Street and Clare Road.

Funding has also been received through the Rural Regeneration Development Fund to prepare a design brief for the former convent school on Abbey Street for its redevelopment for community use as a workspace hub and to support local enterprise. The design brief also includes a new public plaza adjoining the community hub building and a new pedestrian bridge connecting the plaza to the public swimming pool. Restoration of the existing riverside walk along the River Dalgan, the creation of a new circular walking route through the town and provision of a new cover and heating facilities at the public outdoor swimming pool have greatly improved the amenity offering of the town.

12.5.11   Town Centre Consolidation Sites

The potential exists for better use of under-utilised and vacant sites within the town centre area of Ballyhaunis, to drive the delivery of quality housing, services and employment opportunities, in tandem with supporting social infrastructure. In this regard, four town centre consolidation sites have been identified in the town. An indicative development framework has been provided for each site to guide developers.  

Site A: Lands east of Aisling Drive

Site B: Lands south of Supervalu between St Gerards Crescent and Clare Court.

Site C: Lands to the rear of MidWest Radio with access off Barrack Street.

Site D: Lands east of Knox Street

The redevelopment of these sites presents an opportunity to further contribute to the rejuvenation and revitalisation of Ballyhaunis and to enhance the overall improvement of the public realm and visual amenity of the area.

SITE A

Location: Lands east of Aisling Drive and West of St. Patricks Church, with access off Upper Main Street and St. Gerards Crescent.

Area: Site area of c. 4.69ha.

Zoning: Town Centre Mixed Use

Potential uses: Residential and Mixed-Use