Local Area Plan
Presentation by RDA/RCDA 21/11/18
LOCAL AREA PLAN (LAP)
2019 – 2024
Submission by Rosslare Development Association (RDA)in response to the call of Wexford County Council for the drafting of a Local Area Plan (LAP) to be considered in the context of the County Development Plan 2019-2023
The title of our LAP is: FOCUS ROSSLARE.
FOCUS ROSSLARE sets out the current status of Rosslare, its importance – even uniqueness - as a residential and holiday resort and identifies urgent remedial action to secure its future.
A five-year development “Bible” is presented as an important attachment to this Local Area Plan which has been discussed and debated by community representatives and all interested parties in Rosslare Strand over a period of several months culminating in a strongly attended public meeting.
The “Bible” sets out a programme of agreed projects with priorities attached to rational timelines, subject to capital funding support from local and central government.
All the development projects identified are geared towards enhancing and improving Rosslare Strand and Environs to the benefit of residents and visitors alike.
As well as the attached development “Bible”, this narrative is supported further by a comprehensive application for a share of the billion euro to be allocated to Rural Regeneration over the next 10 years, details of which were recently announced by An Taoiseach Leo Veradkar (report also attached).
LOCAL AREA PLAN – ITS PURPOSE
The purpose of this plan is to set out a strategy for the proper planning and sustainable development of Rosslare Strand and its environs. This strategy seeks to give urgent address to the very survival – economic and physical – of the area by way of vital coastal protection work.
It also seeks to facilitate the planned, integrated and sustainable development of the area so that growth can take place in a co-ordinated manner, while protecting and preserving the area’s character, heritage and amenity and making a positive contribution to people’s quality of life.
In preparing this LAP, regard has been had, among other issues, to the following:
• Existing urban structure of Rosslare Strand and environs and its attractiveness to holidaymakers both inside and outside the county as well as from foreign countries
• importance of the tourism-euro to County Wexford’s overall economy
* population growth targets for the area; and
• opportunities for employment and enterprise developments presented by the nearby Europort.
PROFILE - ROSSLARE TODAY
Historically and justifiably, Rosslare Strand is the premier seaside holiday resort in County Wexford, but is now under assault from mother nature who gifted it to us in the first place. We cannot appease her so we have to put up barricades to survive.
AND TIME IS NOT ON OUR SIDE.
Whilst taking great care to reject carnival, hurdy-gurdy type attractions, Rosslare has encouraged stylish and sensible development over many years. Its features include:
Renowned championship golf-links course
Two high-grade hotels
4 well-developed & well-run mobile home parks
Quality holiday houses and apartments
Most of all, nature has provided Rosslare with its enviable Blue Flag beach which is enjoyed by increasing numbers every year whose travel needs are provided by train and bus services to the heart of the village.
In addition, the Strand is annexed to Rosslare Port whose road network makes the holiday village easily accessible by car.
The population of Rosslare was 1,547 in 2011, according to the census of that year. That was 7 years ago when the country – and the world - was trying to overcome the crippling effects of the worst economic collapse in modern-day history. There were 535 households then. All these statistics will have been on an upward curve since then – the county population grew by 3% in the 2016 census - also the outer environs of Rosslare will not have been taken into account in the village statistics.
It is estimated that the population of Rosslare doubles in the summer months with a constant throughput of Irish native holiday-makers as well as foreign visitors, all of which make good business for hotels, B&B’s and other retail outlets.
(NB: In its recommendations this year (2018), the local Electoral Area Boundary Committee has changed the traditional Forth & Bargy electoral name to KILMORE which is broadly described as an “urban centre” with an electoral area population of 21,275. This change was made without consultation and, by implication, it affords Kilmore unfair pre-eminence over Rosslare Strand and Rosslare Harbour).
TOURISM AT RECORD LEVELS
Irish inbound tourism is at record levels with overseas visitor numbers in 2017 of nearly 10 million, according to the most recent report from Failte Ireland (as much as 40% are British and 20% are American). Europeans are said to be concerned about value-for-money in Ireland and while Rosslare has to be sensitive to that, it is important for us to create attractions and price incentives to capture an increased share of passing-through holiday traffic, especially those coming through Rosslare port.
In addition, well-priced stay-at-home family holidays will become more popular because of airport congestion and security issues. The planned Greenway scheme using the disused railway line to Waterford would further enhance Rosslare’s tourism appeal if and when it is activated. Rosslare therefore can look forward to making significant increased input to the overall national tourism endeavour.
It is worthy of note that tourism in Northern Ireland is now earning 2.5 million sterling on average every day. A lot of this comes from the Republic of Ireland who are attracted especially by the Titanic Museum and the film site of Game of Thrones.
Notwithstanding that, Failte Ireland have released business tourism figures for the first 9 months of this year (2018) for the Republic and they show earnings of 162million so far, outstripping all of last year. The CEO said: “Tourism is a significant contributor to Ireland’s well-being both socially and economically. It supports 240,000 jobs and also generates 7.2 billion Euro in revenue and 1.7 billion Euro in exchequer earnings – the equivalent of over 1,000 Euro for every household in Ireland.” They believe there is huge potential for future growth in the business tourism sector. Figures for overall head-count tourism will be released at year’s end.
In addition, the area is assuming a retirement profile through natural downsizing from expensive city homes and relocating to areas of clean sea air. Rosslare continues to prepare for the inevitable growth in population numbers and a wide range of social and sporting activities is organised each year by the community action groups. At the same time, the community is aware of the need to attract young families who represent the future of Rosslare and this is referred to in a later section in this presentation.
A humanitarian dimension has also been introduced through the Befrienders Group that provides for trained community volunteers to make weekly visits to elderly people living alone. This is in keeping with stated government policy to facilitate elderly people living in their own homes, supported by the community as well as the home-help scheme. The Tidy Towns judges who placed Rosslare in first place in the county this year (2018) noted that the Befrienders activity was reflective of a concerned and caring community.
An indigenous youth population is essential for the future of any community and Rosslare has a vibrant youth club which encourages teenagers to become involved in its comprehensive activities programme. Further interaction among the various age groups is important. To that end, the youth club is asked to identify its requirements for greater role-play in the future of Rosslare and its community.
In addition, our association feels it has an obligation, in tandem with the County Council, to encourage and foster the local migration of young families to Rosslare. With the benefit of local knowledge, our community leaders hope to assist the local authority to identify suitable sites for developing a basic modular house-style that would be affordable and ready for any add-on module in the future.
Rosslare has never been short of friends at every level and community involvement in ensuring the future of the area continues to be impressive. Wexford County Council and the Office of Public of Works have seldom fallen short in their response to realistic requirements to save the village and the beach from the ravages of bitter winter events, such as in the 2018 winter.
There is an abundance of goodwill but, welcome as it is, it is not enough to secure Rosslare’s beach and urgent action is sought from all relevant bodies with the power to make the difference between nature’s destructiveness and coastal protection.
The community is playing its part through its multi-tasked community complex run by a fulltime manager and staff.
CHALLENGE: Rosslare – and the county – cannot afford to lose any of the great amenities now in place and the community seeks planned development and not physical retrenchment.
Only the worst can be expected if remedial action is not taken urgently to extend the rock groynes and to rebalance sand levels at the beach.
Consultant engineers have been assessing Rosslare’s needs and their recommendations are keenly awaited so that progressive discussions can begin with the Office of Public Works, the County Council and other stakeholders.
Rosslare is now in dire need of protective coastal action similar to that taking place along the Wicklow and Greystones coastline at present.
Winter storms of the type experienced this year could, if repeated next winter, do irreparable damage.
Remedial action taken over 20 years ago on sections of the beach has proven very successful but must now be extended.
The initial protection scheme cost 1.3m. Euro and was funded by EU, Department of Marine, Wexford County Council and CIE.
First-stage works today will cost 5m Euro.
A blueprint for future development of Rosslare Strand is being prepared by the merged community groups which will include a 5-year business plan with narrative, income/expenditure projections, required capital expenditure, property valuation and depreciation. The funding of this activity will involve commitment by Wexford County Council to participate fully in the 5-year plan. Cost analysis is therefore not realistic until indicative undertakings and agreements are reached with the council.
Rosslare Strand has a serious challenge ahead of it. There is a viable solution. But we need help and a major FOCUS ON ROSSLARE with sustained input by all stakeholders, i.e. government, community, politicians and commercial interests.
ROSSLARE’S NEED IS URGENT!
Development “Bible” setting out specific year-on-year priority to accord with the urgent profile of each approved project envisaged in the 5-year development plan as presented by Rosslare Development Association (RDA)
Notification of RDA’s intention to apply for capital funding under various headings but in particular from the RURAL REGENERATION Fund recently formalised by AnTaoiseach Leo Veradker
Root and branch review of the current status of Rosslare Strand and its
needs to maintain its valuable input to the tourism infrastructure across the county
“Pillar” Management system to monitor and control capital-fund allocation in concert with Wexford County Council and setting structured phases, with cost-estimates and timescales, for completion of approved projects
INFORMATIVE NOTES TO BE CONSIDERED IN SUPPORT OF THE “FOCUS ROSSLARE” PROJECT (OR LAP)
(abstracted from the County Council’s current Regional plan)
The proposed new Local Area Plan (LAP), as submitted, must be passed by Wexford County Council for inclusion in the County Development Plan which will remain in place for a period of six years from the date on which it is adopted, or for an extended period as provided under Section 19(d) of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended).
The plan informs policies and objectives which will guide the area’s physical, environmental and social development over a six-year span.
AREAS OF FOCUS as referenced in the Council’s existing
LOCAL AREA PLAN
Accessibility and facilities at beach including facilities for persons with a
Disused Rosslare-Waterford railway line;
Measures to deal with traffic volumes and pedestrian safety;
Maintenance of walkways and public rights-of way;
Vacant and derelict buildings
Good range of local services, such as those provided by the community centre as well as shops,pubs, post office, etc.
Inadequate parking facilities/services for Commercial traffic
Lack of functional public open space;
Lack of tourist information facilities;
Potential for tourism development based on the coastal landscape, marine
environment, proximity to other tourist attractions, availability of public
transport, passenger ferries and a good road network;
Creation of a strong, vibrant village centre;
Improvements to the village/townscape and improved urban design;
Creation of well designed, accessible public open spaces and green linkages;
TO BE AVOIDED
Further development on the periphery of the village with poor connectivity to
community facilities and the village centre
Increased traffic through the village centre; and
Deterioration of the Rosslare Harbour-Waterford rail line.
MAXIMISING ECONOMIC POTENTIAL
Wexford County Council recognises that the continued development of Rosslare Europort is of strategic importance for the development of industry, tourism and commerce in the County and the South-East Region. It is the policy of the Council to maximise the economic potential of the Rosslare port facilities and promote the development of associated port related employment. This has significant relevance to Rosslare Strand.
The Europort is the second largest RoRo port after Dublin and is the nearest crossing point to the European mainland.There are opportunities for ferry companies to maximise visitor numbers with the increasing perceived hassle of airports. The Europort presents further
opportunity for companies in the food sector in County Wexford through minimising the time it takes to get their produce to market.
In this regard, the Council’s Job Creation Strategy seeks to stimulate the manufacturing of renewable energy technologies and to incentivise the supply of energy crops. The Strategy highlights the potential to develop Rosslare Europort, as a Sustainable Energy Zone (SEZ), as a centre to support the renewable energy industry with potential for wind, wave, tidal and electric vehicles development. This would create job opportunities and high export potential to mainland Europe.
The spin-off benefit to Rosslare Strand is obvious from its proximity to the Europort which is a gateway to Ireland and in particular to the South-East Region.
The Europort is linked to the national road and rail networks. The N25/E30 is identified in the National Spatial Strategy as a Strategic Linking Corridor forming part of the southern road corridor between Rosslare Harbour and Cork.
The N11/E01, which connects with the N25 at Wexford Town some 15km north-west of Rosslare, is identified as a Strategic Radial Corridor. As well as the roadway network which provides a drop-off at Rosslare Strand, a constant flow of summertime traffic is facilitated by bus services as well as the mainline railway service via the Rosslare Strand from the Europort to Dublin and back.
The Europort also provides residual opportunities for industries around the port and in nearby towns and villages, including Rosslare Strand.. Existing developments in the plan area include motor and transport related industries, as well as tourism related services and facilities.
The urban area acts as a centre for residential, employment, educational and social services and it is important for the quality of life of the area’s population that these services are retained, improved and expanded upon where necessary.
Both Rosslare Strand and Rosslare Harbour form part of County Wexford’s coastline which is characterised as a Vulnerable Landscape. Any development is likely to result in significant visual impacts on this coastal landscape. But the recent erosion of the Blue Flag beach and coastline at Rosslare leaves no option but to engage protection work urgently.
National Spatial Strategy 2002-2020
The profile of Rosslare Strand fits well with the National Spatial Strategy (NSS) which is designed to achieve a better balance of social, economic, physical development and population growth between regions. This will be achieved through closer matching of where people live and where they work. The focus is on people, places and on building communities. It is argued that the key to the successful implementation of the NSS in the South-East Region is the formation of a strategic growth triangle with Waterford City as the Gateway, supported by Wexford and Kilkenny as hubs.Enniscorthy, New Ross and Gorey are recognised as important urban centres providing a range of services and opportunities for employment, whilst Rosslare Strand and other smaller towns and villages throughout the County will act as a focus for social and economic activity as well as housing.
Longer Term: Regional Planning Guidelines for the South-East Region 2010-2022
The Regional Planning Guidelines (RPGs) provide a long-term strategic planning framework for the development of the South-East Region up to 2022. The South-East Region is divided into six smaller sub-areas.
The europort as well as Rosslare Strand are located within Sub-Area A (Waterford-Kilkenny-Wexford Triangle). The principal issues associated within this area are:
Development of critical mass of Gateway and Hubs a priority Larger towns (i.e. Tramore, New Ross, Carrick-on-Suir) to be strengthened
Smaller towns and villages to be strengthened Urban generated rural housing to be carefully monitored and controlled
Transportation links between gateway and hubs to be improved Links to national Gateways and the regional Hubs/County Towns require
improvement Internal roads network and public transport require improvement Economic, Social and Cultural infrastructure to be improved
Exploit potential of location of Rosslare Europor, Tourism development to be facilitated, Sustainable Rural Development a priority
Scenic areas and sensitive coastal landscapes
Smaller Towns and Villages like Rosslare Strand:
The Regional Planning Guidelines RPGs recognise that smaller towns and villages play important roles as service, retail and residential centres.
These towns and villages need to be developed in a way that respects their existing character while at the same time strengthening their role as local service centres.
A balance needs to be struck between encouraging development in towns and villages and ensuring that the design, layout, character and scale of new residential development fits well with the town or village and presents a high-quality living environment.
It is to the advantage of Rosslare Strand that Regional Planning Guidelines acknowledge that Rosslare Europort is recognised as a major port in the region with great potential in the logistics sector.
Wexford County Council recognises that the continued development of Rosslare Europort is of strategic importance for the development of industry, tourism and commerce in the County and the South-East Region. It is the policy of the Council
to maximise the economic potential of the Rosslare port facilities and promote the development of associated port related employment.
The County Development Plan contains other policies and objectives on aspects such as transport, economic development, housing, infrastructure, community, tourism, recreation and heritage.
The County Development Plan is the overarching plan and as such the policies and objectives of this LAP will be consistent with that plan.
Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)
Environmental assessment must be carried out where it is considered that the plan would be likely to have significant effects on the environment. This is determined through a screening process. SEA is a valuable tool that influences decision-making at each stage in the development plan process; to improve the environmental sustainability of the plan and to raise awareness of the potential environmental consequences of its implementation so that these consequences may be mitigated or avoided altogether.
_ Any likelihood of potential impact on important marine habitats arising from a key objective to implement coastal protection measures, must be investigated and analysed and notified to the EU. This is likely to affect the timescale for implementation of any agreed and approved coastal protection measures which will be subject to Article 6 of the EU Habitats Directive.
NOTE OF HISTORICAL INTEREST
Rosslare Strand gave its title name to the Harbour which is located in the townland of Ballygerry some 4km away.
Rosslare or ‘Rosclare’ from the old 13th century spelling means the point or headland of the wooden bridge.
The birth of Rosslare Harbour was brought about by the development of the Railways in Ireland. In 1882 Ballygerry pier was completed and the railway from Wexford to Rosslare Harbour was officially opened. In the first few years there was little activity at the pier and in 1894 negotiations took place on the development of the harbour which would allow large passenger ships to dock.
In 1896 the Fishguard and Rosslare Railways and Harbours Company was established and they undertook, in co-operation with the Great Western Railways of England and the Great Southern and Western, to reconstruct the pier.
The building of the Rosslare Harbour to Waterford railway line was also undertaken at this time.
Works were completed in 1906 with the official opening of the Fishguard-Rosslare Harbour Ferry service.
A new village was built at Rosslare Harbour in the early 1900s to accommodate the
many employees of the expanding port. The village consisted of a social club, shop,
handball alley, water reservoir, dormitory for overnighting locomotive crews, a water
tower and other facilities.
A new road (St. Martin’s Road) was constructed from Kilrane railway station through the new village. With the advent of the car ferries in the 1960s the road was later extended to provide vehicular access to the pier.
Since then Rosslare Harbour has served a large number of emigrants and tourists. The area around the Harbour has developed into a small town with a range of shops, service industries, residential developments and community facilities.
Rosslare Harbour: Sea & Ships (Maddock, John: 1996)
Section 3: Urban Character Assessment
Rosslare Harbour and Kilrane 22 Local Area Plan 2012-2018
Map 1: Historical 25” Mapping 1888-1913
Kilrane village was established long before the development of Rosslare Harbour. There
had been a school there for many years with records showing 26 full time pupils as
early as 1834.
Historical maps from 1840 show a small group of buildings at Kilrane
including a school and a church, while maps from 1888-1913 show the addition of a
post office and a forge.
Above: Kilrane Village
Rosslare Harbour: Past and Present (Maddock, John: 1986)
Section 3: Urban Character Assessment
Rosslare Harbour and Kilrane Local Area Plan 2012-2018 23
Map 2: Historical 25” Mapping 1888-1913