POLICIES AND OBJECTIVES
2.1 Housing and Population
2.1.1 Population Growth
Prior to 2006 Fiddown had not been enumerated separately as a ‘census town’, but included in the wider District Electoral Division of Fiddown. Between census periods the DED increased, from 592 in 1971, to 687 in 2002. Prior to 2000 it is estimated that there were approximately 39 dwelling houses within the village with a population of 117.
The most recent census of population was carried out on 23rd April 2006, and enumerated Fiddown ‘town’ for the first time, recording a population of 194.
Since 2000 six multi-unit residential developments have been constructed in Fiddown with a combined total of 105 houses; 24 houses are assumed to be included in the 2006 census, with 81 not included in the census figure. (Fairgreen, Railway View and part of Kylemore included in 2006 census; Coirceog, Bridge Court, Inis Alainn and remainder of Kylemore appear to be post census – source: Council’s report sent to DoEHLG for housing completions 2005-2009).
It is estimated that the current 2010 population of Fiddown is 427, an increase of 233 persons/ 120%, since 2006 – this assumes an average household size in Kilkenny of 2.88 (as per the 2006 Census data vol.3 Household Composition, Family units and Fertility).
2.1.2 Development Strategy
Overall the population of County Kilkenny increased by approx. 8.8% between 2002 and 2006, and nationally by 8.1% as per the Census results. The Draft Regional Planning Guidelines for the South-East Region 2010-2022 have set revised and reduced population targets for the region and its constituent counties, with a lower rate of growth than envisaged by the guidelines published in 2004. The settlement strategy for the settlements in the county must take account of these figures.
Having regard to a number of factors, including (a) the 265% increase in population in Fiddown since 2000, (b) the revised population projections for Kilkenny as per the Draft Regional Planning Guidelines for the South-East Region 2010-2022, (c) the designation of Fiddown as a ‘Small Town/ Village’ within the Council’s settlement hierarchy, (d) the character of the village, (e) its proximity and use of services in Piltown, and (f) deficiency water supply and wastewater treatment, it is considered reasonable in the current context, to cater for a low level of growth over the period of this plan.
However in order not to stifle the growth of the village, provision is made for a natural increase in population during the life of this plan. The rate of natural increase (number of births minus the number of deaths, not taking account of migration) of the population in Ireland was 9.8 per 1000 in 2007 (Measuring Ireland’s Progress 2008, CSO), or 0.98%; rounding this up to 1% per year, and extending for a six year period, would result in a 6% population growth.
A natural increase of 6% of the current 427 population, assuming an average household size of 2.88, equates to 9 addition dwellings over the life of the plan.
Lands are zoned for residential development to accommodate this growth; in addition to lands zoned for existing and general development uses also permit for additional residential growth.
Applying a density of 20 units per hectare, having regard to the Guidelines for Planning Authorities – Sustainable Residential Development in Urban Areas (Cities, Towns and Villages – published May 2009, an area of 0.45 hectares is required for development over the life of this plan. An assessment of the lands zoned in the Fiddown Local Area Plan 2003 shows that 0.83 hectares of residential lands (accessed from Strand Road) have not been developed, and that undeveloped village centre lands of 1.53 hectares exist (now proposed for a zoning objective of ‘Existing and General Development’). The current proposals therefore more than adequately cater for the projected natural growth for the village.
Having regard to the foregoing, the unfinished/ unoccupied units as at March 2010, and that the use of backlands and underutilised plots should be encouraged, it is not considered that additional lands should be zoned.
2.1.3 Housing Units
The housing stock in the village of Fiddown has substantially increased since 2000. It is the policy of the Council to strengthen and consolidate the towns and villages in the county. It is important that there is a balance between the provision of higher and lower density developments. Having regard to the recent levels of residential development, there is a need to provide an option for people to upsize and be able to build a house to their own design and layout on a larger site, yet within walking distance of amenities. The Council will support lower density development on back-land sites and undeveloped areas of land within the village to broaden the choice of dwelling types available, and also the development of serviced sites in the village.
Lands have been zoned on Strand Road to facilitate residential development during the life of this plan. Given the site characteristics it is considered that development here would not be of high density. In addition to these lands, the ‘Existing and General Development’ zoning provides opportunities for a wide number of uses, but can also facilitate residential development on infill or backland sites. Such opportunities exist on the lands to the rear of and adjoining Merry’s Garage, and also the backland sites to the rear of the street opposite Railway View, and adjoining the pedestrian right-of-way leading to the railway tracks from the village.
- HP1 – To ensure the controlled development of Fiddown which reflects the character of the existing and historic village in terms of structure, pattern, scale, design and materials with adequate provision of open space, and which protects the amenities of existing dwellings.
- HP2 – To zone an adequate amount of land for housing to provide a locational choice and allow for the probability that not all zoned land will be made available to development.
2.1.4 Character of Fiddown & Integration of Development
The views across and through the village, both along the railway line and up and down the river contribute to the character of Fiddown. In addition, the footpath connection from the main street across the railway line to the river is also a convenient connection worthy of enhancement.
While there are some fine historic structures forming an attractive ensemble at the crossroads, there are others which stand detached, for instance the Church and Fiddown House which can be viewed over long distances and from the Motte at the site of Fiddown Castle at the riverside. Taken together, these factors give Fiddown a certain character and depth which is unusual in a village. The views up and down the river from the quay and the views back to the village and across to the Fiddown House are important amenities which should be recognised and protected. The setting of Fiddown in the wider landscape is attractive and has potential for sensitive enhancement and development.
There are some fine stone walls at various locations throughout the village that contribute significantly to its character and are worthy of protection and restoration. In particular the wall extending from the railway line to Fiddown House is worthy of preservation.
The road connecting Piltown and Fiddown, which is a crucial link between the two inter-related settlements, currently remains predominately free of roadside development, and this maintains the identity and distinctiveness of both settlements. While both settlements have an interdependent relationship, they both retain their own distinctive identities which are strengthened by the rural character of the road linking them. It is important to retain the rural character of this road to avoid a blurring of the character and identities of Fiddown and Piltown.
Any new developments in the village should take account of the existing scale and pattern of development in the area, and should demonstrate a high standard in design, layout, provision of open space and landscaping. Developments should provide for pedestrian links within the village centre where possible.
It is not intended to prescribe maximum residential density standards and developments should accord with the standards set out in the County Development Plan; new developments should have regard to the characteristics of the site, the pattern of development in the area and to the scale and amenities of existing adjacent development and servicing requirements.
- HP3 – To ensure a high standard in design, layout, provision of open space, landscaping and provision for pedestrian linkages to the village centre in new residential developments. New developments shall have regard to the characteristics of the site and its setting, the pattern of development in the area and to the scale and amenities of existing adjacent development.
- HP4 – Any new development should respect and reflect the existing scale and character of Fiddown.
In assessing any new development in Fiddown, the Council may have regard to the development potential of adjoining land and will assess any application, with a view to providing for the development of these lands in an integrated manner. This applies to any land parcel, and relates to all aspects of development including open space provision, access arrangements and pedestrian and cycle links.
Questions to consider for Housing and Population:
Do you agree with this approach, if so, why?
Do you disagree with this approach, if so, why?
What would you like to change?
Are there any other issues that you feel should be considered?
Please submit your answers to these questions or add your comments using the comment box below.
Please also indicate below whether you are making a comment or whether you are making a formal submission to the plan.