Housing and Population

2.1 Housing and Population

A number of housing schemes have been developed in Gowran since the last plan (2003), namely Abbeygrove, Bradóg Way, Ogenty, The Paddocks and The Steeples. To date, the total number of units completed in these estates is 138. The level of population growth since the last plan has been significant and as outlined in Section 1.7 Population, the total population of the town is now estimated at 804 people. It must be noted also that permission exists in the town for a total of 42 units, which are yet to be completed[1] and a number of units, mainly in new developments, remain vacant.

2.1.1 Context and Trends

The development boundary for Gowran was designated in 2003 taking into consideration the following factors:

  • The need to provide a compact and accessible village and to reduce its continuous outward spread, in order to promote the efficient use of land and of energy, to reduce pressure for one-off housing on rural lands, to minimise unnecessary transport demand, encourage walking and cycling and to enhance the existing built environment, in accordance with the principles of sustainable development
  • The need to offer locational choice and housing mix
  • The Architectural Conservation Area
  • The existing built environment and road structure
  • Potential population growth and demand for housing
  • Proximity to existing and potential community and commercial facilities
  • The existing level of provision of infrastructure
  • Existing permitted / committed development

From the 2003 Plan, approximately 7 hectares of residential zoned land remains undeveloped. In addition a total of 22 hectares of land were zoned for Integrated Tourism/Leisure in Gowran Demesne, which provided for limited residential accommodation linked to integrated tourism and leisure facilities. None of this land has been developed.

The Draft South Eastern Regional Planning Guidelines were published in December 2009 and these set out the population projections for the region as a whole, which local authorities must have regard to. The population projections for the region were broken down into an allocation for each constituent county. This allocation for County Kilkenny must be divided amongst all the settlements. Such a distribution results in a limited potential for growth, particularly for the smaller settlements in the settlement hierarchy such as Gowran.

To estimate the possible population growth for Gowran for the six year period of this plan, the approach adopted was to apply a natural growth rate, which will allow for the natural increase in population. Natural increase is the number of births minus the number of deaths, not taking account of migration.

The rate of natural increase of the population in Ireland was 9.8 per 1000 in 2007[2], or 0.98%. This could be rounded up to 1% per year, and for a six year period therefore, would result in a 6% population growth, which could be termed natural growth.

Assuming an existing level of population at 804 people in 2010, the natural growth approach results in a total estimated population growth of approximately 50 people over the plan period to 2016. To translate this into land requirements, an average density for housing units must be assumed.

2.1.2 Development Strategy

According to the Government Guidelines on Sustainable Residential Development in Urban Areas (2009), densities within centrally located sites in towns and villages should be in the order of 30-40+ dwellings per hectare. On edge of centre sites, densities to a range of 20-35 dwellings per hectare are recommended. In controlled circumstances to offer an effective alternative to the provision of single houses in surrounding unserviced rural areas, it could be appropriate to consider densities of less than 15-20 dwellings per hectare.

Applying a household occupancy rate of 2.88[3], a total population of 50 people translates into a housing requirement of 17 units. As Gowran is mainly a rural town and having regard to the existing pattern of development, an average density of 10 per acre is assumed. Applying an average density of 24 units per hectare (which is 10 per acre) this results in a land requirement of 0.7 hectares.

To comply with the Government Guidelines on Development Plans[4], this land requirement has been increased by 50%, which equates to approximately one hectare. A one hectare site in Gowran, at the corner of Rockfield Road and the Kilkenny Road is subject to an extant permission, P06/1387, for 14 detached units, which expires in November 2011. Considering the level of growth since the last plan, the number of extant permissions and the lack of capacity in the water infrastructure (as detailed in Section 2.2), this site has been zoned for Phase 1 Residential Development (See Map 1: Zoning). The remainder of the greenfield residential land has been zoned for Phase 2 Residential Development.

The layout as permitted under 06/1387 has a density of 14 per hectare, or 6 per acre. This site could provide an alternative to one off housing on the fringes of the town, and in this regard, either an alternative layout, or an application for serviced sites at this location would be welcomed.

It must be noted that this site zoned for Phase 1 residential zoning is not the only area with potential for growth. A General Objective will be applied to the existing built-up area of the town. This General Objective zoning includes some smaller undeveloped sites and a large amount of backland associated with existing buildings. Infill development will be encouraged in these backland sites, where appropriate. In some cases site assembly may be required. Infill development will provide for some locational choice. Taken in conjunction with the level of extant permissions and unfinished/unoccupied housing, it is considered acceptable in these circumstances that only one site is identified for Phase 1 development.

Phase 2 lands will not be released during the lifetime of this plan. However, the situation will be monitored on an ongoing basis. This development strategy for Gowran will provide for consolidation of development around the existing village settlement which will support appropriate service expansion.

Policies & Objectives (Chapters 4 & 10 of the County Development Plan 2008-2014 also apply):

Policy HP1 To protect the residential amenity of existing dwellings.

Policy HP2 To ensure that infill development is contextually compatible

Policy HP3 To encourage the building of new infill development where vacant plots exist.

Policy HP4 To ensure the maintenance and protection of housing within the village centre, and to encourage continued residential use of upper floors.

Policy HP5 To ensure that no one proposal for residential development will increase the housing stock of the town by more than 10%. (The housing stock of the town is approximately 280 in 2010).

2.1.3 Integration of Developments

In assessing any new development in Gowran, 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/cycle links and car parking.

For residential developments the distinction between individual schemes should be maintained by the use of design and detailing, to give each its own distinct identity where appropriate.

Policy HP6 To assess any new development having regard to the development potential of adjoining land

Policy HP7 To ensure the integration of adjoining development land parcels where appropriate, in relation to vehicular access, pedestrian and cycleway links, public open space provision and scheme layout

Objective (Long Term):

Obj. HP8 To ensure an access can be provided through the Phase 2 lands to the Castle Ellis Road/Chapel Street from the Kilkenny Road in any development on these lands or lands adjoining.

[1] Of these 42 units, 12 are under construction and 30 not begun as of April 2010

[2] Measuring Ireland’s Progress 2008, CSO

[3] Census 2006, Volume 3 (CSO), Table 1, Average number of persons per private household for County Kilkenny

[4] Development Plans, Guidelines for Planning Authorities, DoEHLG 2007

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.

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