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Minutes of the Special Planning Meeting of Kildare County Council on Monday 8th March 2010 at 2.15 in Áras Chill Dara, Naas
Present were: Councillors C. Purcell Mayor, S. Griffin, B. Weld, T. Lawlor, M. Heydon, S. Lanigan, K. Byrne, J. McGinley, F. Browne, P. McEvoy, P. Kennedy, S. Moore, L. Doyle, C. Murphy, W. Callaghan, S. Doyle, F. O’Loughlin, P. Kelly, M. Nolan, M. Miley, M. Wall & T. O’Donnell

In attendance: M. Malone Co. Manager, J. Lahart DOS, M. Kenny Snr. Planner, A. Sweeney, L. Griffin & M. Foley

1. Best Wishes

The Mayor sent his best wishes and those of the members and staff to Deputy Michael Fitzpatrick who was ill.  The members and the Manager concurred.

Cllr. L. Doyle expressed his sympathy to the family of the late Davy Dalton Snr. former Captain of the Kildare Senior Football Team.

2. Presentation by Dr. Martina Roche

Dr. Roche had been invited to give a synopsis of the Socio Economic Profile of County Kildare previously prepared by her.  She pointed to the fact that we were in an inter-censile period, with very little updated information since the 2006 Census. However, following the 2011 census, data will be produced for local areas below the electoral divisions which will be very useful for planning at local level.  She also referred to a larger body of work undertaken by her for KCC (Poverty Profile) which was available from Community & Enterprise Section. 

The Mayor thanked her for her presentation which will be circulated to the members.

3. Consideration of Motions

John Lahart referred to the schedule of motions submitted by the members in relation to Chapters 1 to 4, along with the Manager’s responses, which had been circulated.  He said the purpose of today’s meeting was to consider the motions and make changes to the Draft CDP, as appropriate.  Following comments from some of the members, John advised that the members should proceed to consider the motions before them today and revisit those chapters later if necessary.

Chapter 1 - Introduction and Strategic Context

None Received.

Chapter 2 – Core Strategy 


1. Cllr. M. Miley - Section 2.2 Strategy (Chapter 2-1) (pg 2-1).

Major concern in relation to the focus of the County Development Plan, in its initial statement on the Greater Dublin Area. I would see the County Development Plan as supporting Kildare as a whole and I would feel that they should be supporting Kildare and not the Greater Dublin Area.

Extract from Proposed Draft Plan
“In developing a strategy for the future planning and development of the county, it is recognised that, as Kildare is part of the Greater Dublin Area (GDA) it will be influenced by and have influence over future economic, social and environmental trends in the region. The RPGs provide a broad planning framework giving an overall strategic context to the development plans of each local authority in the GDA.”

Manager’s Response
The Proposed Draft County Development Plan considers the County of Kildare as a whole under the relevant chapter headings. The reference to the GDA in this motion is contained within the Core Strategy of the Proposed Draft County Development Plan. The function of the Core Strategy is among other issues to strengthen the development plan as the fundamental link with national, regional, county and local policies. While Kildare is located within the Mid East Region due to its functional relationship with the Dublin Region it is known collectively as the GDA and is guided by the RPGs which is a policy document which aims to direct the future growth of the GDA and works to implement the NSS. 

The RPGs make a series of recommendations clearly linked to and supporting national investment in transport, integrating land use, transport, economic growth and investment in utilities  - water, broadband, energy so that the GDA can move towards becoming a sustainable high quality location for business, residents and visitors. Through the RPGs it is intended that collective decisions made at a local authority level in relation to planning policy will provide value for money on key strategic state investments including public transport routes and major water services projects.

Delivery of many key infrastructure projects and other aims requires a co-ordinated approach by local authorities, the NTA and by a range of other key agencies.

A lengthy debate followed during which the following points were made:

• nothing in the Draft Plan to generate employment in mid or south Kildare,  focus is on the metropolitan area and it should be on the redistribution of employment opportunities to the centre and the south.
• misguided to focus on certain settlements and to over concentrate on the GDA; need to chose one major hub, in a central location, to compete for investment; reallocate some population to create critical mass rather an add to Maynooth, Leixlip etc.
• connection to the GDA should be seen as an asset; it would be a long time before the critical mass was reached to create a major hub.
• create our own hubs rather than concentrating on the GDA.
• new LAPs already adopted for Leixlip, Celbridge & Collinstown and paragraphs 2.2 and 2.7 in the Draft Plan simply recognise the existing situation; no conflict in the county; aim should be to make sure Kildare as a whole benefited and to make the most of its strengths wherever they may be.
• National Spatial Strategy decides everything
• Can’t rely on Carlow for jobs
• Has existing CDP worked; not one policy theme boundary has worked; this plan restricts people in rural areas further
• Plan doesn’t identify sufficiently  how one area interacts with adjoining areas
• Need to recognise constraints in Leixlip & Osberstown WWTPs
• Build on high tech capacity around Intel & NUIM; promote sectors identified in Draft (IT, Equine etc.)
• RPGs very rigid last time; same again this time; their understanding of dynamic of Collinstown is off
• Look at rail corridors as drivers of opportunity
• Social structure & quality of life issues important

The Manager, John Lahart and Michael Kenny replied as follows:

• Map 3.1 indicates designated growth centres throughout the county, not just in the north east
• Chapters 1 & 2 are statements of fact
• Not competing merely against other counties, but globally; foreign direct investment harder to get
• Have to have regard to Government and regional policies, otherwise Plan will not be acceptable
• Not alienating parts of the county; Plan recognises strengths & weaknesses and seeks to build on the former; have to be more targeted, focussed
• Proximity to Dublin is a strength; capital city has to grow
• Settlement patterns are dictated by the NSS; different towns have different tiers of economic development to sustain them; where population  influences where investment goes
• CDP is not about creating employment for Dublin; Economic Strategy for Mid East Region caters for appropriate employment opportunities for other areas in the county too
• Plan trying to distribute the population growth proportionally; population strategy has regard to availability of infrastructure & size of existing settlements; each settlement has had a health check on social & physical infrastructure; need to provide suitable employment opportunities to match population growth; case for employers at smaller level to create jobs in the smaller settlements
• CDP designed to take account of historical investment; can’t ignore north east of county; Leixlip WWTP upgrade is planned on that basis;

At this point the Manager intervened and advised the members to complete the discussion on the Core Strategy and leave discussion on settlement strategies and specific locations to further chapters.


2. Cllr. Miley - Section 2.2 Strategy (Chapter 2-1) (pg 2-1).

Concern in relation to the limitation of policy 2.2 vii, in relation to rural based enterprise. If we curtail this to rural based enterprise we are going to limit our rural areas as we have done in the past and we are going to stagnate.

Extract from Proposed Draft Plan
The Draft Development Plan seeks to encourage the focus of development on:

(vii) Recognising the role of the rural countryside in supporting the rural economy and its role as a key resource for agriculture, forestry, energy production, tourism, recreation, mineral extraction and rural based enterprises.

Manager’s Response
This statement comprises part of the core strategy which recognises the role of the rural countryside in supporting the rural economy and its role as a key resource.

Full detail on policies and objectives for rural development are contained in Chapter 10 and cover a wide range of economic activities in rural areas including:
agriculture,
equine,
horticulture,
agri-food sector,
forestry,
boglands,
tourism,
green energy projects,
mineral resources,
rural enterprises
and one off enterprises in rural areas.

Agreed to defer to discussion on Chapter 10.

Motion 3. Cllr. Miley - Section 2.3.1 Population Growth Trends Chapter 2-2 (pg 2-2).
Major concern in relation to the percentage increase of population in County Kildare. Kildare since 1996 has increased by 38% although the majority of the South of the County have decreased or have a population increase of less than 10%. Areas of population increase is the towns of Athy with increased enormously with lack of infrastructure been put in place and the other population increase were in small villages. Rural population increase has not happened. This would strongly make the case for rural planning to be left as is

Manager’s response:
The rural housing policy has been drafted on the basis of a number of criteria including density of development among other issues. In this regard, the majority of South Kildare is located within the least restrictive planning policy zone for rural housing ( i.e. low sensitivity area) reflecting the existing policy operating under the current County Development Plan. 

Agreed to defer to discussion on Rural Housing Policy

Motion 4 – Cllr. Miley - Section 2.4 Planning Policy Zones – Regional Context (Chapter 2-5) (pg 2-5).

Concerned about public transport corridors in this policy as would restrict other areas from development.

Reference “The key objective for the future development of the Metropolitan Area is to ensure consolidation of urban centres, development of brownfield sites especially along public transport corridors, the provision and facilitation of an integrated public transport system and the achievement of a greater use of sustainable transport modes through the integration of land use and transportation planning”.

Manager’s Response:
This paragraph reflects the provisions of the Draft RPGs and in particular section 4.6 (pg 71) which states “The policy emphasis for the Metropolitan area is to gain maximum benefit from existing assets – public transport, social, infrastructural – through the continuation of consolidation ….within the existing built footprint … of large growth towns.

Agreed no change required.

Motion 5 – Cllr. McGinley - Section 2.5 Settlement Hierarchy Regional Context (Chapter 2-5) (pg 2-5). Map 2.3 and Table 2.2

That the necessary changes be made to reflect the fact that Maynooth is no longer a Large Growth Town II in the RPG's.  It is Maynooth-Leixlip (including Collinstown).

Manager’s Response:
Agreed also with Modification to Map 2.3.

(see addendum)

Figure 10: Settlement Strategy for the GDA (Draft RPGs – see attached). Illustrates Maynooth and Leixlip as one town – positioned at Maynooth on map. Map will be amended to reflect the towns of Maynooth and Leixlip but linked as a Large Growth Town II.

Agreed with the Manager’s Response.

Motion 6 – Cllr. Murphy - Chapter 2-6 (pg 2-6), Map 2.3 needs amendment.

Manager’s Response:
Agreed subject to Modification.

As above.

Agreed with Manager’s response

Motion 7 – Cllr. Murphy - Table 2.2 Settlement Hierarchy and Typology-  Chapter 2-7 (pg 2-7) Needs amendment. 

Manager’s Response:
Agreed.

(see addendum)

Agreed with Manager’s response.

Motion 8 – Cllr. Murphy – Section 2.6, SEA and Settlement Strategy Chapter 2-8 and Chapter 2-9 (pgs 2.8- 2-9)
Most Sensitive Area, would have thought Liffey Valley would have been identified as one of the most sensitive locations.   

Manager’s Response:
The areas of environmental sensitivity within the county have been informed through the compilation of environmental baseline mapping through the SEA process – this motion will be referred to the SEA consultants for comment.

Dealt with by Conor Skehan, Environmental Consultant, later in the meeting.

Motion 9 – Cllr. Murphy - Section 2.8 Future Population Growth and Housing Targets Chapter 2-10 (pg 2-10) –

Census - We should be committing to an adjustment to the core strategy following the publication of the 2011 Census.

Manager’ Response:
Agreed subject to Modification

Population and Housing targets issued through the Regional Authorities form the core framework for the development of population and housing targets for each Council.

However, it should be noted that the DoEHLG may issue revisions to regional population projections which would require the RPGs to update the population and housing figures for each Local Authority as occurred in 2007 with regard to the 2004 RPGs. Section 4.3.2 (pg 63) of the Draft RPGs states “It should be borne in mind in relation to the 2022 figures that these will be revised in the new RPGs of 2016 and figures may be adjusted mid-review as part of the on-going monitoring of the RPGs”.
In such circumstances a review of the Core Strategy may be required.

Furthermore, the 2 year mid term review of the forthcoming County Development Plan will be conducted in 2013 and any revised population targets arising from the 2011 Census can be reviewed at that stage.

Agreed with the Manager’s response.

Motion 10 – Cllr. Wall - Section 2-10 Overall Economic Strategy Chapter 2-12 (pg 2-12).

That Kildare County Council explain why the only primary economic growth town or cluster in the South of the County is Newbridge which is to be clustered with Naas.

Manager’s Response:
Comment with Amendment to CS 6

Under the Draft RPGs Naas / Newbridge is designated as the Core Economic Area. Naas is the principal economic growth town in this Core Economic Area. It identifies locational advantages for Naas including its location on a multi modal corridor including the N7/M7 and rail service from Dublin to Galway (with a commuter train service to Dublin from Sallins). The largest employment sectors identified in Naas are manufacturing and Commercial Services.

Newbridge is recognised as having a large wholesale and retail employment sector, served by rail transport and has close linkages and interactions with Naas in terms of employment flows, with both towns having feeder and destination movements.

Primary economic growth towns are identified as the main centres of economic activity outside the city region. They have been prioritised for regional population growth and serve a pivotal role in serving their urban areas and wider suburban and rural hinterlands in terms of employment and provision of goods and services. The RPGs identify that targeted investment in physical, green and social infrastructure into these areas, also provides the most efficient and effective long term use of resources to develop enterprise, retain and develop talent and attract new economic activity and business.

Secondary Economic Growth Towns which includes Athy are recognised “as having an important supporting and complementary role in developing economic growth and sectoral strengths in tandem with the primary economic growth towns…. The consolidation of Athy’s town’s employment and service sector is supported. The development of high value added manufacturing sectors and internationally traded sectors in tandem with I.D.A. support around transport corridors and routes such as the rail station are also supported together with continued investment in education and skills development”. (Section 3.7.5 Draft RPGs pg 57.)

The economic hierarchy for economic growth towns in the Proposed Draft County Development Plan is consistent with the Draft RPG Economic Strategy.

Policy CS 6  (Section 2.15.2, Chapter 2-14) to be amended to include reference to Athy as follows:

“To encourage and facilitate new employment opportunities within the secondary economic growth centre of Athy and within the identified economic growth clusters and towns.”

Agreed to defer to discussion on Chapter 5.

4. Presentation on SEA by Dr. Conor Skehan

Dr. Skehan was in attendance representing the environmental consultants who were preparing the Environmental Report as part of the SEA process.  Dr. Skehan told the members that the Environmental Report must issue alongside the Draft CDP in April.  Strategic Environmental Analysis is required under an EU Directive, to examine the likely effects of the Plan on the environment.  His team had worked with the Planners to examine the policies in the Draft Plan and he reported that the Draft was fully in compliance with the SEA and Environmental Regulations.

He said the SEA was a process not a document and his team would attend future meetings to assess and offer advice on motions proposed by the members.

In reply to questions from the members he said the Liffey Valley was dealt with in a larger analysis on page 104 of the Environmental Report.  What was proposed was generally the best fit.  John Lahart added that any constraints regarding abstraction or discharge were only interim ones as there were long term plans to improve both issues.


5. Conclusion

Michael Kenny reminded the members that Deirdre Scully would attend the next meeting on 15th March at 2pm to discuss the Draft RPGs.  Chapters 5 to 9 would also be dealt with at that meeting and he asked the members to submit their motions as soon as possible to facilitate the staff with preparing responses.

This concluded the business of the meeting.